The new Liberator IV & V Communications Headsets from Tactical Command Industries have never been shown in public before. These are 100% designed from the ground up by TCI as a next generation to replace their popular Liberator II & III headsets which were Modified-Commercial Off The Shelf systems. TCI started with the basic functionality of the two legacy headsets and set about to make them even better through improved materials, design and production. For example, although the two are virtually identical, the Liberator IV is designed for a single comm application, while the Liberator IV offers dual comms functionality.
This is the first tactical communications headset totally designed, built, and sourced in the USA. All of the design work was conducted by TCI using a blank slate. They did not adapt or copy any existing system. The headwear design is unique and all of the components are Made in USA. In fact, the injection molding is done at the same Safariland Group business where Safariland holsters are injection molded, and using the same materials and color palette. Currently the headsets will be offered in Flat Dark Earth, OD Green and Black but other colors are available with minimum order quantities. In fact, I fully expect o see production models in the new Medium Coyote Tan (MCT) recently specified by the US Army for weapon accessories. Aside from the molding, much of the production of the other components for these headsets is handled within Safariland.
Additionally, this is the first 3 mode headset on the market. What TCI means by this is that it operates using sound localization and compression, like many traditional headsets on the market today. However, one of the limiting factors for these headsets is constant high decibel/high frequency sound (back of a helicopter, on a patrol boat, in an MRAP). Compression electronics are useless and the passive sound attenuation of the muff is poor because it is small; designed to fit under tactical helmets. The Liberator IV/V add a second mode of active noise cancelation (ANC). This operates very much like the Bose or similar headsets you wear in aircraft, creating a counter wave that neutralizes the high level constant noise. Their third mode combines sound compression and ANC to provide complete hearing protection from impulse noise that happens to take place while in a constant high noise level environment (door gun on helicopter, mini-gun on patrol boat, or M2 on MRAP). This is accomplished by using two high speed modern digital signal processors, working independently or in tandem.
Like modern radios, the Liberator IV/V’s firmware is updateable. Any updates can be pushed via wireless firmware update, so there’s no need to replace the entire PCB and processor in order to modernize the headset. TCI has also incorporated higher quality speakers which leads to improved sound quality. The speakers are no longer flush mounted. Instead, there is a sound “port” or hollow space behind the speakers to provide better high, low, and mid-range acoustic response. This eliminates that “tinny” sound associated with some headsets.
TCI’s “Dual Fuel” system is pretty cool. The Liberator IV/V is equipped with a battery box that accepts either 2 AAA or 1 CR123 battery. Although performance is dependent upon what you have the headset doing, battery life is comparable to existing headsets while operating in the same mode.
There are two headset suspension options. There’s the traditional over the head comfort mount and unique modular universal mount which includes a helmet rail mount that attaches to the rear part of the rail. Adaptors for Team Wendy helmets are also available.
A lot of innovation went into the development of this headset. TCI has applied for patents covering certain specifications on the ANC hardware, wireless firmware update, dual fuel battery compartment, speaker configuration, and aspects of the universal headset suspension.
Because TCI controls 100% of the production, they tell me the Liberator IV and V will not cost any more than their legacy headsets, which keeps them on par with other manufactures in terms of price and features. TCI’s position is that they are offering a Ferrari at the same cost as everyone else’s Chevy.
The Liberator IV is a single comm headset and will come in the same configurations as the Liberator II was available in. The Liberator V is dual comm and will come in the same configurations as the Liberator III did. If you used a specialty variant of either of those headsets, they’ll be available with the new headsets as well. There will also be a Liberator HP which is a standalone (no comms) headset similar to the DEHP and like the DEHP could be converted to a Liberator IV or V.
The Liberator IV/V should be available by Summer. Final field trials with selected military and Federal LE end users will start in a couple of weeks. Based on feedback, TCI will make any last minute changes. I look forward to seeing how these run in the field.