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Army Tests New Helmet in Airborne Operations

The Army last month tested prototypes of its new helmet, or Integrated Head Protection System (IHPS), for suitability in airborne operations.

Troops from the 57th Sapper Company, 27th Engineer Battalion, 20th Engineer Brigade, out of Fort Hood, Texas, jumped with the new helmets from a C-17 Globemaster III at 1,250 feet over the Sicily drop zone at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

The jump test was coordinated by the U.S. Army Operational Test Command's Airborne and Special Operations Test Directorate.

"Operational testing is about soldiers. It is about making sure that the systems developed are effective in a soldier's hands and suitable for the environments in which soldiers train and fight," Col. Brad Mock, head of the test directorate, said in an Army release.

According to Leon L. Price, a test officer with the test directorate, the purpose of the operational test using airborne paratroopers was to collect data to evaluate the suitability and safety of the IHPS when worn during static-line airborne operations.

The new helmet is slightly lighter than the current Army Combat Helmet and includes accessories such as a mandible, visor, night-vision goggle attachment device and a system to measure head trauma.

Test Manager Steve McNair, of Program Manager Soldier Protection and Individual Equipment out of Fort Belvoir, Virginia, said the Army is expected to field 7,000 Integrated Head Protection Systems to separate brigades during fiscal 2018 before moving to full-rate production for fielding across the force.


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