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JSF Officials Focus in on Helmet Issues: Officials with the Joint Strike Fighter Program Office are trying to determine exactly how operational the F-35 helmet would be if left in its current configuration, said Maj. Gen. Christopher Bogdan, deputy program executive officer, during AFA’s Air & Space Conference in National Harbor, Md., Sept. 17. “You can’t go to war with this airplane unless you have a helmet that works. Today’s helmet works in a very rudimentary way,” he said. The concern is that the Marine Corps will either have to slip its planned 2015 date for initial operational capability of the F-35B short take-off vertical landing variant or settle for a helmet without all the planned fixes, so officials have designated a single aircraft at NAS Patuxent River, Md., to “do nothing but helmet testing,” said Bogdan. The plan is to “gather as much information as we can about the helmet” in the next two-to-three months, so officials can determine if “the helmet is viable long-term” with the planned fixes. In the mean time, though, officials are looking at an alternate helmet by BAE Systems to hedge their bets, he added. “The helmet has problems and we know it. Are we sure it’s going to be fixed, not necessarily, so we have to have a backup plan,” he said. “We are looking to see if the BAE helmet will be the backup plan.”