|Lightening the load|
US Army soldiers to receive lighter combat helmet
The US Army has awarded a contract for a helmet that weighs an average of 22 percent less than the one currently in use and officials say it has just as much protection.
The Advanced Combat Helmet Generation II contract was awarded to Revision Military in Vermont to produce up to $98 million in helmets over the next five years.
The Advanced Combat Helmet Generation II looks almost identical to the ACH Soldiers have been wearing for 15 years, but it weighs 9 ounces to almost a pound less than the legacy helmet.
The new helmet is made from ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene, a lighter material than Kevlar, but reportedly just as strong. It can stop 9mm handgun rounds along with various shell fragments.
Collaboration with industry, academia and government research laboratories enabled the weight reduction without compromising integrity.
The weight difference between the new ACH Gen II and the current helmet depends on the size. In the most common size of the helmet, a large, the ACH Gen II will weigh just under 2.5 pounds. This means the new helmet weighs about 12 ounces less than the current large ACH.
The most weight reduction will be in the extra-large helmet. That size will see a reduction of nearly a pound.
The helmet weight reduction will help Soldiers reduce mission fatigue and enhance their situational awareness. They believe the lighter helmet will increase Soldier effectiveness and overall survivability.
The new helmet will also be available to other military services through Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support, just like the current ACH.
The helmet and other lightweight body armor items now being developed are among the most promising technologies the Army has been working with.