Army Unveils New Modular Helmet Prototypes

helmet1The U.S. Army has released two new helmet prototypes the service is testing to offer soldiers a modular design that would allow crew members to need only one helmet versus the two they currently have to keep.

Army leaders plan to unveil the helmets officially in October that came out of the Helmet Electronics and Display System-Upgradeable Protection program — a four year development effort led by the Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center.

Engineers and scientists have developed the helmet to potentially include see-through and projected heads up display technologies, better eye and face protection and improved ballistic materials. 

A few soldiers have already gotten a chance to test the helmets in mounted and dismounted human factors evaluations. What stood out for these soldiers is the ability to remove or attach the mandible and eye protection.

helmet3Currently, crew members must keep two helmets — the Combat Vehicle Crewman helmet and the Army Combat helmet. These new prototypes would allow them to carry only one by altering their helmet to the combat condition they face.

“I think we’ve proven through our program that there can be one helmet for both mounted and dismounted soldiers, which, I think, is a big deal,” said Don Lee, project engineer in the Headgear Thrust Area of Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center, in a statement. “I think the program’s proven that a one-helmet system for ground soldiers, whether they’re mounted or dismounted, can exist.”

A recent report found that 72 percent of all head injuries suffered by soldiers occurred to the face. Army leaders said it forced them to reconsider what equipment was provided to protect a soldiers’ face.

Lee said the new mandible and visors associated with the two helmets especially protect soldiers from debris kicked up while riding in vehicles.

“When the soldiers wore the prototype systems with the visor and mandible,” Lee said in a release. “It was the first time that they weren’t eating sand and dust and rocks going down the road.”

Natick will pass on the results of their research into the helmets to the Army’s Program Executive Office Soldier and the Marine Corps for further fielding decisions. No detail were provided of when those decisions may be made.


  • straps

    If we’re gonna be running around with these things in The Future, we’ll need a carbine with in-receiver recoil management. BENEATH the bore line.

    I know this article has a CVC tilt but mark my words, dismount elements will be directed to make this work.

    Maybe THIS effort to replace the Stoner AR will bear fruit…

    • Lance

      What are you talking about??? This has nothing to do with weapons.

      • larry

        What he means is that it will be impossible to get a good cheek weld with this thing on and shoulder a current carbine correctly in a way that will mitigate recoil…

        • Rob

          I dont think so. Considering its modular and the bottom portion is detachable it shouldn’t be too much of an issue from what I see

          • Lance

            I agree you can take off the mandible so its not a issue. The mandible is for vehicle crews anyway so the debate is nill for infantry.

          • Hitchner

            Plus it having heads up display we may actually be using the tech that is commonly used for aircraft, so you may not even need to aim down the sight in the future, might have it all on your screen.

          • Dustin

            You gotta be the first person to say this but not think of it, i think the same way when i think about gunning in a attack helo in battlefild 4 stick a bullet proof camera on it and call it wall “hack”ing

          • straps

            Debate is NOT nil. In a thread that I noticed you commented on:

          • straps

            “Achmed, please hold your fire so I can switch from “slaughtering you from the CROWS on my vehicle” mode to “fighting my way out of the burning vehicle you just disabled with an IED mode. Shouldn’t take but a minute. I just need to reconfigure this helmet.”

            Yeah I know, emergent technology.

            A holographically projected reticle would be the bees knees. Just make sure that SMS’s (or Powerpoint on one eye, CCIR/PIR on the other) from Higher don’t obscure it.

  • Eronc

    When is Viper 1 from the BattleStar Gallatica do to launch. Did they copy those?

    • ianalfonzo

      no, it looks more like the metal helmet from Fallout.

      • Adam

        I think it looks more AIRWOLF than anything. It sounds like it would work a great deal better than the mask’s we had to buy in Iraq. Just wonder how air circulation would be?

    • @ajent_oranje

      OMG I was thinking the exact same thing!

  • Lance

    Looks a bit too bulky to have a mouth grab over your whole head all the time. See the visor but having your whole head covered when in vehicle combat may prove hard to talk to fellow crew members is your intercom is dead.

  • Tylor

    I think they should make a slimmer design. This is great, but they need one more compact, almost shape formed in order to reduce the issues this will bring. This would be a good helmet.

  • Randy

    The design looks ‘ok’ but they should take a page from motorcycle helmets…I have a shark that is dot rated in both half face and full face configuration (knowing this isn’t kevlar or balistic rated). A button at the bottom swings the lower portion of the helmet over the top to the back of the head, making it possible to get a good cheek weld on your personal weapon and then pull it down for full face configuration…with the electronics as small as they have become I’m sure it could be done without having to spend a hundred million to develop a new helmet.

    • @KareesMoonshade

      A few soldiers have already gotten a chance to test the helmets in mounted and dismounted human factors evaluations. What stood out for these soldiers is the ability to remove or attach the mandible and eye protection.

      You missed the part about them being able to remove the mouth part and the eye part. This is for mounted crews.

  • Rick

    Let’s look at this in a way the average person can understand. Have you ever played paintball or airsoft? If so, have you ever tried to rest your cheak against the gun while wearing the required mask? It’s impossible. Now, try that with this helmet, when someone is really shooting at you. With the M-4 family of weapons, these helmets will be impossible.

    • Lance

      I agree you can take off the mandible so its not a issue. The mandible is for vehicle crews anyway so the debate is nill for infantry. I know any plastic rifle ICC fans slobbered over offered anything to work around this mandible (mask part) anyway. Doesn’t matter the mandible is meant for vehicle crews and is removable.

      • Mike

        And what if time doesn’t allow you to take off the mandible? For instance you all the sudden need to dismount and engage the enemy immediately?

        • Lance

          Take the whole helmet off if it wont drop accessories. Besides this is for tank crew not infantry.

    • iancarlin

      100% spot on.
      This is a tanker only gadget. Can you say massive fogging and restricted airflow? even paintball masks have the common sense for vents

      It also needs accessory rails side and back

    • mike

      the part that covers the mouth is detachable.

    • Marcus

      There is a reason Imperial Storm Troopers couldn’t hit squat.

      • Chadman

        Set For Stun…..he said set for stun…..Nice

  • Zanerdude

    peripheral vision is waaaay overrated…pause not.

    • Riceball

      With the visor up and mandible removed it doesn’t look like you’d have any worse peripheral vision than with an ACH, so what’s the problem?

  • Tom

    Would be good for gunners in vehicles because it would protect a lot more if you are getting thrown around or when you have to get pulled down into the vehicle.

  • former grunt

    What happens when chemicals or gas are in the air? How does one don a gas mask?

    • M60A3_OldSkool

      That’s just what I was thinking. You’d definitely have to take the mandible off. One more thing to do when time is of the essence.

      • Riceball

        How is that much different from the old CVC? Don’t you have to take off your CVC to put on your gas mask or are tanker gas masks different in that you can put it on without having to take your helmet off?

        • RedLeg02

          If this helmet is limited to the mounted forces, it may be workable. Like Former Marine points out, the tank can be sealed. I’ve never served in a Bradley or Stryker but I would imagine they can be sealed as well. Then it becomes part of the battle drill: Detect gas, seal the vehicle, don the mask, continue the mission. The sticky bit is going to be for dismounted soldiers. A full face protection system has advantages but if sarin takes out the squad, they’re useless.

    • Former Marine

      If the tank is sealed up they are protected. If not all they have to do is close the hatch.

  • The_Hand

    You know, helmets like this just don’t look right unless paired with body armor. That has shoulder pads.

  • Snatcher

    Just stop fighting for the fucking banksters. How about that?

    • jimmy

      incredible how folk downvoted your comment

  • Anthony

    Gotta love the military and all their acronyms. “Helmet Electronics and Display System-Upgradeable Protection” =HEADS UP

  • orly?

    Not the same, but fast removal:

  • John

    I’m a Bradley Commander and I will not be using this garbage.

    • SSGrealitycheck

      you will use what the army gives you stud

    • Michael Hoffman

      As a Bradley Commander, why would you choose not to use the helmet?

      • Lance

        IDK maybe this will be a option and stay with his current tanker helmet??

    • Matt

      You will be using it if you are ordered to!

  • Lee

    It seems to me to be for selective use, and therefore little use. Not something that I would want to be wearing in the bush.

    • Mike in Fort Worth

      Exactly, Lee. It’s for very selective use…vehicle crews only. No one will be using this in the “bush”.

  • Tom

    Problem I se…the face plate fogging in particualr weather conditions redering it useless…

    • mturnb

      I wear a Nolan modular helmet and they have addressed the fogging. There is a fog liner for the face shield. This works very well until you get down into the sub-20 temps and then it does start to fog up around the edges.

  • semiautosteve

    Interesting. This looks a LOT like Revision Military’s BATLSKIN helmet system.

  • myladog

    we have already recruited the “Call of Duty” kids so now lets go for the “Halo” kids

  • David

    The pics remind me of a little known and quite forgotten 1980’s cartoon series, known as Spiral Zone. The show’s main antagonist- Overlord- wore a similar designed helmet during combat operations, although his helmet included over-sized decorations on either side of his head gear. Someone else pointed out that the helmet reminded them of the pilot helmets of Battlestar Galactica, which is definitely a good analogy. Another said that the helmets look like something from Halo, another good comparison. And, of course, there are those serving that said that they will not use the helmets for various reasons. As a Veteran myself, I have to honestly agree that these do look both outlandish and uncomfortable, not to mention, they don’t exactly look like they offer much in the way of peripheral vision.

  • Slag

    So when does the rest of the power armor come for the Mechs?

  • Not Darth Vader

    Wonder why I was deleted. Is this common?

  • Ken Farmer

    Very similar to the helmets our ground units (the Raptors) have been using in our Black Eagle Force novels for the last few years. We introduced it in Black Eagle Force: Sacred Mountain. It includes a HMD from our Eye-in-the-Sky predator type drone, the Manta.
    ” Each Raptor Four member unlatched the Velcro cover exposing the sensor operation pad on their left forearm. As the selector for HMD or Helmet Mounted Display was chosen, an infrared vision of the hacienda target area appeared on the inside of the clear polycarbonate helmet visor as it was transmitted from Manta. Her orbit was four thousand feet above the drop altitude in a tight left racetrack that kept her in the clouds directly over the adobe structure.”

  • CVC wasnt so bad

    Can you look through the GPS with that thing on???

  • Don

    Ladies and gentlemen, I give you, Ant-man!

  • Eugene

    Looks exactly like the space marine helmets in DOOM. LMAO!

  • Andrew

    How am I supposed to shoot?

  • Brookbury2000

    The higher ups have completely lost their minds….just like our president and vp…..

  • LT_Todd

    So when do we get the full halo suit that comes with the shield system that we are playing with. lol

  • sailndayz

    Where is the air conditioning unit? This thing will be HOT in the sand. Bulky to the point of uselessness!

  • GySgt D.Angel ret’d

    how do the Eye glasses fit in the scheme

  • msglaigaie

    I saw these several years ago on the commercial market. I believe it was called the predator system. It will also be a platform for grunt level heads-up display options.

  • cy barraca

    Real Test…why not send these helmets to our troops still in action in Afghanistan? This will be a real test before the military spend millions to replace the existing ones. Better yet, try it on SEALS, Delta Force and other special units out there, then take a POLL…

    • Gman

      I’m certain no mechanized operator and infantry type would allow something that restricts their senses and peripheral vision to be tested on them in a real world combat environment . IMHO personnaly there is no way I would allow-it.

      Semper Fi

  • Earl Rowe

    They got to be kidding. A fighting man needs all around vision It’s too clomsey better without that thing in a fire fight.

  • matt

    The Taliban do not wear this kind of crap and still continue to rage a pretty tough fight. Go Fig !!

  • Kernel Al

    This design is a joke! It might work inside a vehicle or in a space-craft but not in the event you have to fight from outside a military vehicle. Simple is best and more cost efficient. I would relook the design and the concept. LT Weight with built in micro commo ear piece and fold down mic for use outside. A snap-on mic like the one shown here might be do-able but I’m still thinking on that one???

    Removable goggles are better in the long run for they can be replaced much easier and at a much lower cost. They call also be used outside a vehicle easier.

    Most important… we need to remember that we need to maintain low profiles and 360 vision. This is way to “HI-TECH” and a get rich quick items….

  • Bill

    I have been using flip front motorcycle helmets for years. I have to hold my breath at stoplights to keep the face shield from fogging up until I can flip it open. Without some kind of active ventilation, the face shield will fog. Keeping it open defeats the purpose. Any kind of glasses makes it worse with two fogged surfaces instead of just one. Adding active ventilation means power…another set of batteries or jacking into vehicle power…both which add mass not only to the helmet but also to the supply chain for the spares.

    In short, nice…but try again.

  • Grapeshot

    It looks like sci-fy gear coming to life. Still I wonder what the Brass plan to do if involved in a chemical attack.

  • Taylor

    Hard to use with glasses and likely very hot.

  • Demetri Patterson

    How would you be able to look through the sight with this on. Therefore not only that, when ever you are in the prone position want the mask prevent you from looking all the way straight forward due to the length of the mask? Also is there a built in gass mask in the mask or do you have to take off that mask and put on the gass mask? Please inform me/ inlighting me on this and feel free to reply.

  • Gman

    Forgive me for my ignorance, I’m not a mechanized operator, I’m a infantry type that have been transported within mechanized units often. IMHO: mechanized operators are restricted “as they are” within the cramp confines of their vehicles, moving about within a M3, M113, LAV, AAV or any armor or transport type vehicle is restrictive enough already. This head/face gear appears to restrict the crewmen’s peripheral. I agree their is a need to protect their face. This headgear I’m sure will provide crewmen with the necessary protection, I also see how this may be a hinderance, restricting crews vision and senses-awareness.

  • Charles Gluckman

    The photographs are the same.

  • Jerome

    Gents, did anyone stop to really look at this thing or than make jokes? Correct me if I’m wrong but it looks like your standard ACH with the front piece attached to it. They article says that it brings both ACH/CVC together. If so than to me looking at it’s design, I’m thinking that the front piece and the eye pro come off when the Soldier dismounts and poof…it’s an ACH. The article doesnt state it but just looking at the design and how it looks like two pieces of equipment…thats what I’m assuming. And if so…good deal.

  • James

    Very Cool, a bit more research and development and this thing could take flight to real battle testing! a working HUD, possibly some sort of cooling system inside the helmet for austere environments. This could be very useful for gunners. Maybe someday could be a replacement for our M40 with a bit more development… solving the ‘donning’ issue someone spoke about.

  • Don Smith

    Spot weld to fire a weapon is good. Hitting the target with this helmet will be very difficult. How about when the air conditioning doesn’t work? I remember taking my flak jacket off in Vietnam on hot days. I suppose each commander will have to court martial each crew member if they take off the ridiculous helmet. I wonder which Congressman fought for this stupid project?

  • Halo Maybe

    Master Chief is Coming!

  • jllarmy

    Being from the steel pot Vietnam era, I was wondering can you make coffee in the helmet?

  • Duncan

    This looks like a really beefed up version of Revision’s BATLSKIN

  • Tristan

    Let’s just make a real life predator mask…

  • Trevor Bobb

    They should make it for all shoulders it would save lives and make the changing helmets go away I know if I joined the army and I plan to if want one of those

  • Ale

    All cool looking but how do you use your sights/scope on your rifle with that thing on????

  • JDAM Boom

    Wow, check out the helmets that Revision Military makes. They have a great variety for all conceivable mission needs. The Motor T guys could all use the mandible portion. They make the mandible to fit existing helmets so Army/Marines wouldn’t have to buy all new systems. Pretty cool.

  • Sledge B. Hamma jr.

    Wish they would have just stayed with the ww2-70s style helmet. The looked cool unlike todays silly Darth vader style helmets. Now they want the military walking around looking like spaceman.

  • Sledge B. Hamma

    So many people today refuse to join the military today because the uniforms suck. Todays military looks like they are walking around in camo pajamas like I had when I was 6 years old. The coolest uniforms were from ww2 to just after the viet nam era. Todays uniforms were designed and made in China.