The United States Army Updates Its Head Protection

The United States Army continually seeks to protect its military members in the heat of battle. After years of research, development, and testing, the Army has said that it will introduce new battle armor in the coming weeks. We secured a sneak peek at some of the latest gear that the Army is using to outfit its soldiers and have provided you with a brief breakdown.

Who Is Receiving The New Gear?

The Army will initially introduce new gear to the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division. This may come as a surprise to these military members, as some of the equipment was not set to be introduced until 2020. One of the notable pieces of equipment that soldiers will receive is the Integrated Head Protection System.

What Is The Integrated Head Protection System?

For nearly two decades, the Army used the Enhanced Combat Helmet in the field. Now, soldiers will switch to the Integrated Head Protection System. Army officials say that this helmet will increase their protection against head trauma injuries by 100 percent. Ceradyne Inc, a 3M company, produces the helmet.

The company sought to protect more against blunt force injuries than the ECH. Both helmets provide the same amount of protection against rifle bullets, but the IHPS delivers double the protection against trauma and blunt impact. In the past, these blows could lead to concussions, and other traumatic brain injuries, which studies have shown have devastating effects for military members. The hope is that the added protection offered by the helmet reduces these injuries.

The company’s lead engineer for head protection, Alex Degroot, told Military.com, “It’s less force on the brain; it’s a tremendous increase for us. It’s actually one of the things that makes this helmet considerably better than the current helmet.”

Ceradyne was able to strengthen the helmet by changing the previous bolted retention system. In past models, the helmet featured two holes on each side to hold the chin-strap assembly. Ceradyne created a boltless retention system. There is now only one hole in the helmet, which soldiers can use to mount their night vision. This design should go a long way. The more holes that are in the helmet, the weaker its design.

What Other Gear Are Military Members Receiving?

Although the Integrated Head Protection System is the critical component of the new gear, there are other elements set to make their debut as well. For instance, they’re also gaining access to a new protective vest. This vest is light-weight, checking in at a maximum weight of 25 pounds when fully-equipped. The jacket includes front and side body armor plates. The current Improved Outer Tactical Vest weighs about 30 pounds when fully-equipped.

Soldiers will also receive a new Ballistic Combat Shirt, which provides them with additional armor and protection. The shirt features soft armor primarily focused in the:

  • Neck
  • Shoulders
  • High Chest
  • High Back

The shirt is strong enough to protect against 9mm rounds. Those with tactical experience may liken it to the Deltoid Axillar Protector, used previously by soldiers in the Iraq War. The DAP, however, only protected the shoulder and upper arm from shrapnel wounds. The BCS provides much more extensive coverage. The Army has said that they will be a bit delayed in releasing the new shirt, however, as they are still working on sizing their current military members.

Lastly, soldiers have the option to use a Blast Pelvic Protector. This piece of equipment is optional. It seeks to provide soldiers with added protection in their upper thigh and groin areas, areas that are often exposed in combat.

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