A new Army and Marine Corps helmet design intended to increase protection may not succeed in decreasing shockwave pressure to the head in some circumstances, according to officials with the Navy Research Laboratory, or NRL, Military Times reported.
The findings, emerging from extensive testing by the NRL, assessed a wide range of contingencies regarding the prototype helmet, called the Conformal Integrated Protective Headgear System, or CIPHER.
The testing examined the helmet by itself, the helmet with a visor, the helmet with a jaw protector and a full-face coverage with a visor and jaw protector, Military Times wrote.
Tests showed blast waves could bounce off the added components and produce unexpected pressure. The findings also showed that adding face protection didn’t necessarily mean lessening blast-wave impact.
Here are some of the findings, as cited by Military Times.
■ In a front-facing blast, pressures on the forehead were higher with the jaw protector, or mandible, in place and with the mandible-visor combination than they were with the helmet alone.“The military actually has specific criteria that helmets have to meet to be certified for use in ballistic and blunt force,” David Mott, an NRL aerospace engineer, told the paper. “No such criteria exists for pressure because the medical community is still working on what the injury mechanisms are, and we don’t know where to set those desirable levels anyway, at this point.”
■ Wearing just the jaw protection for a front-facing blast doubled the strength of the secondary shockwave pressure on the forehead from 2 atmospheres (one atmosphere is a little less than 15 pounds per square inch) to 4 atmospheres.
■ In a rear-facing blast, pressures on the forehead were more than twice as high for the mandible-visor combination than for the helmet alone.