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Posts Tagged ‘Natick Soldier Research Development and Engineering Center’

Natick Displays New Lightweight Helmet At Pentagon’s Close Combat Lethality Tech Day

Thursday, June 7th, 2018

The Close Combat Lethality Task Force recently held a Tech Day at the Pentagon. A wide variety of equipment was on hand. U.S. Army Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center researchers displayed a next generation helmet called the ACH Gen II: UHMWPE.

US Army photo by C. Todd Lopez

Essentially, it’s based on the second generation Army Combat Helmet, except that they’ve improved how the ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) used in the helmet is processed during molding. The ACH Gen II already offered a 22% weight reduction over the original ACH but can only stand up to 9mm and Frag threats.

The ACH Gen II: UHMWPE weighs 2.5 pounds for the shell, and an estimated 3.5 pounds final weight, but provides the same level of protection as the Integrated Head Protection System, which has just begun fielding. However, it does so without having to add a ballistic appliqué for rifle rounds like IHPS. Consider that an IHPS weighs about 5 lbs with the appliqué fitted. For a rifle threat-level Helmet, that’s a significant improvement.

Natick continues to develop Helmet technologies with a goal of offering rifle level protection in the weight of current Frag protection (ACH).