The Pentagon’s research and development arm is investigating whether the very equipment meant to save military pilots' lives on the battlefield is causing them to become disoriented and crash.
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is funding an effort to study the relationship between military electronics and spatial disorientation—a pilot’s ability to determine his or her correct altitude, attitude, or airspeed. In one incident, spatial disorientation caused a Japanese F-35 pilot to slam into the Pacific Ocean at nearly 700 miles per hour.
By most accounts, U.S. military aircraft are the most advanced in the world. Aircraft like the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter are covered in sensors, from the nose-mounted radar to a ring of infrared cameras. Military aircraft also have radios, control systems, and other forms of data competing for pilots' attention, all emitting some kind of radio or electromagnetic radiation.
While these features are highly useful and help pilots stay alive in dangerous situations, is there a darker, undiagnosed side to these electronics?
The Pentagon, as Forbes writes, wants to find out. DARPA’s Impact of Cockpit Electro-Magnetics on Aircrew Neurology (ICEMAN) project will examine the effect of electromagnetic fields and radio frequency signals to determine if they're responsible for cases of spatial disorientation. (end of excerpt)
Click here for the full story, on the Popular Mechanics website.