U.S. Army’s Soldiers have begun to receive the next generation of head protection system called the IHPS, according to Army News Service.
The IHPS, a short for Integrated Head Protective System, is part of an upgraded Soldier Protection System (body armor). When fully assembled, the headgear resembles a full-face motorcycle helmet. It provides a larger area of protection for the head and face and weighs less than the current Army Combat Helmet.
The first issue of this mandible with the IHPS helmet went to an armored unit in Afghanistan a couple months ago, said Lt. Col. Ginger Whitehead, product manager for Soldier protective equipment at Program Executive Office Soldier.
Less than a week after receiving his new Integrated Head Protective System, or IHPS, the neck mandible saved the Soldier’s life in Afghanistan.
The armor crewman was in the turret manning his weapon when a raucous broke out on the street below. Amidst the shouting, a brick came hurdling toward his turret. It struck the Soldier’s neck, but luckily he had his maxillofacial protection connected to his helmet.
The neck protection was designed specifically for turret gunners to protect them from objects thrown at them, Ginger Whitehead said. She added most Soldiers don’t need and are not issued the mandible that connects to the IHPS Generation I helmet.
A new Gen II helmet is also now being testing by Soldiers, said Col. Stephen Thomas, program manager for Soldier protection and individual equipment at PEO Soldier.
About 150 of the Gen II IHPS helmets were recently issued to Soldiers of the 2-1 Infantry for testing at Fort Riley, Kansas. The new helmet is lighter while providing a greater level of protection, Whitehead said. The universal helmet mount eliminates the need for drilling holes for straps and thus better preserves the integrity of the carbon fiber.