Army Issues $4.9M Contract to Develop Better Helmet Padding

Helmet-Padding-600x400The U.S. Army awarded the University of Southern Missisisippi a $4.9 million grant to conduct research into helmet liners for soldiers.

Army leaders want researchers at the university to develop a new pneumatic cushioning system to better protect soldiers and hopefully design a more comfortable helmet.

The school has worked with Rawlings Sporting Goods — makers of baseball and football helmets — since 2011 to help produce liners for football helmets.


Last year, over 25,000 U.S. service members were diagnosed with traumatic brain injuries, according to the Defense Department’s Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center. It’s important to note that not all of those injuries occurred when a service member was wearing a helmet or deployed.
  • JohnD

    Develop something that makes the helmet ride better with all the crap we put on it and make it head injury proof including torque trauma from blasts!

  • Wake27

    Why not just use a COTS solution like Team Wendy pads?

  • JCitizen

    I seem to remember a study of motorcycle helmets that surprisingly found that ordinary hard hats worked better than the usual cycle helmet design, mainly because the web held to the head better, but the light weight of the hard hat didn’t tend to snap the neck in dynamic forces, and also didn’t ten to bounce off the pavement resulting in worse head and neck trauma. A helmet is basically there to provide stand off for the skull, and retard bullets. Hopefully the stand off space prevents the final disposition of a bullet to impact surviving interior spalling to touch the head. The weight of the helmet cannot be helped, but a better, cooler web sling may bring similar dynamic physics results. Pneumatic cushioning sounds horribly hot to me, but maybe they are talking something like instant inflatable safety, as in provided by car bags? Something not nearly as explosive I hope!


    This is basic physics 101 folks. It’s called Reduction In Wave Propagation Theory. Basically, a wave of energy will reduce energy/disperse rapidly traveling through different mediums connected together. Different foam/padding/armor densities will fix this problem. Can I have the 4.9 mil now ? Cash please.

    • Helmet Engineer

      Easier said than done…

  • SAM

    Maybe they could simply issue big personal bubbles that we could all roll around in so nothing can touch us. We play a rough game, people get injured, as part of that game. We could add padded neck collars to the equation to keep the cubicle nannies busy for their next assignment. There is a reason that less than 1% play our game.

    Let them wear our old steel pots for a calendar year, so they will see how far we have come. I like the pads that I have.

  • JOHN

    Hi, my name GySgt John Murphy, USMC Retired
    I was selected to set on the a panel that was hosted, 1992 @ Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, CA.. We were broken down into small groups to voice our opinion on the new gear we have gotten . 1st thing, the design of the new Caviler Helmet was too big and bulky, & heavy, with very little padding. You found yourself putting your had over the top of your helmet to reduce the impact . The Caviler vest ” flak jacket” , was a poor design. The Helmet did not work while you were in the prone potion, the culler of flak jacket forced your head to forward to see. You defiantly could not wear your Gas Mask while laying in the prone position. The shoulders on the flak jacket had nothing to stop your weapon from sliding off.

  • Slag

    OK, maybe it’s time to just to design the Space Marine sealed fully enclosed shell system with environmental controls, jet packs, micro missile launchers, and flame throwers!

    • Guest

      You might just be more in tune than you think. With all the concern about TBI and such along with all the crap the common soldier/Marine must carry these days there just has to be a better idea that works.

  • Sev

    Line the outside of the kevlar with a layer of steel or aluminum

  • MTNpatrol

    The Army ALSO needs to test certain aftermarket helmet pads already in use by some soldiers, especially in special ops units.

  • Sarge 7000

    Just another waste of money by the Army-remember the uniform screw up? This type of item is currently on the shelf. So,why are spending millions to research? Some Army brass have connection with the university? What a bunch of crap! Go right out and buy it commercially right now and save all that wasted cash!!

    • Helmet Engineer

      I think the Army is telling us something about all the aftermarket / off the shelf kits…they would have partnered with those companies if they saw potential

  • Lurkndog

    Look up “Project Grizzly” to see a rather out-there suit of personal armor that uses lightweight air cushions.

  • Simply one more misuse of cash by the Army-recollect the uniform spoil? This sort of thing is as of now on the rack. So,why are burning through millions to scrutinize? Some Army br*** have association with the college? What a pack of poo! Go right out and purchase it monetarily at this time and spare all that squandered money!!