The Natick Soldier Research Development and Engineering Center in the United States Army is trying out what might be the future generation of protective headgear in the military.
Revision Military, a company that’s popular for ballistic eyewear, has created the new standardized helmet system which was developed for Helmet Electronics and Display System-Upgradeable Protection program. Even though the helmet has a noticeable resemblance to the type that’s worn in the combat game called Halo, the suppliers are saying that it’s merely a coincidence.
The HEaDS-UP system compares closely with Revision Military’s available Batlskin Head Protection System which costs anywhere from $1,600 – $2,000. However, the U.S. Army had some specifications after getting reports of injury and high head trauma from the troops in Afghanistan and Iraq.
“I think military industrial designers and the entertainment industry look to each other for inspiration but this product was not modeled after HALO,” Revision Marketing Communications Manager, Jennifer Zimmerman said.
The helmet was particularly designed to aid in reducing the degree and number of facial injuries emerging from the present war zones. Human factors, system weight and combining with other equipment were among the top design concerns in creating this system.
According to BrainLine Military, around 266,000 military people have suffered a traumatic brain injury within the last twelve years. TBIs, called “signature wounds” from the Iraq War, are induced by mortar attack blasts; fragments or bullets hitting the neck or head; closed head wounds and improvised explosive device (IED) blasts.
Revision Military’s helmet gives the following features which are specified in the Army’s contract:
- Decrease brain injury – An adjustable air liner that’s inside the helmet can be inflated like a sneaker to supply an air bag-like cushion around the head of the soldier.
- Add protection – A regular Army helmet can resist a pistol round—but these new helmets can withstand a rifle round. Now, the helmet covers the neck and lower jaw; the current helmets are vulnerable and easily revealed targets for enemy fire.
- Integrated electronics – A HEaDS-UP display, like Google glass, may be turned down in front of a soldier’s eye to provide GPS of a squadron leader, mission status updates, Medevac, battlefield maps and more. Essentially, this display is an integrated, updated and enhanced version of the already produced Land Warrior System.
Revision Military’s Richard Coomber, the Director of Soldier Systems, describes the attributes of modern war in the Middle East and why this upgraded helmet is in demand:
You don’t really know whether the job you’re gonna be doing is going to be high intensity warfare, whether it’s going to be crowd control or whether it’s going to be humanitarian work … A solider never does one thing. A soldier has to be flexible enough in his training mentally and physically and with his equipment, to be able to rapidly move between these various scenarios.
Revision Military’s head system begins with a regular Army helmet which may be changed for every mission. A soldier may not always want or need to wear complete facial protection; different components could be added to and removed from the helmet when it’s needed. The design is basically a “two-in-one” because a dismounted soldier will wear an Army Combat helmet and a mounted soldier will put on a Combat Vehicle Crewmen helmet.
Revision Military’s Soldier Systems Program Manager, Brian Dowling, stated that they take the criteria of today’s helmet and incorporate electronics, make the helmets lighter and improve the protection. This eliminates wasting time to switch helmets.
Is it a coincidence that these helmets look like they are right out of Halo? Just add a gold visor and it’s hard to deny the similarity. I don’t know about you but I don’t mind my tax dollars going towards better protection, flexibility and equipment so that our troops are safer and more effective. Looking like the Master Chief is just bonus territory!
At *your* service,