This is a couple of weeks old but I haven’t seen anyone discussing it, so here it is:
“Apparently we have thousands of military personnel who believe the helmet they are being issued does not provide them satisfactory protection,” said Rep. Curt Weldon, R-Pa., during a Thursday hearing held by the Tactical and Land Forces subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee.
“The Marine Corps’ own testing indicates that their helmet provides about half the blast impact protection of the [Army] helmet, said Weldon, subcommittee vice chairman. “We need to understand why this is acceptable.”
In 2003 I noted that the Marines were about to issue their new helmet (simply called the Lightweight Helmet) and wondered why the Marines and the Army were both working seperately on new helmets. Just over a year later I noted the Army’s new Advanced Combat Helmet and that some were concerned that the new helmet’s design left soldiers more vulnerable, especially to shrapnel.
If you check out the link on the Marines’ Lightweight Helmet (LWH) you’ll see that one of the touted features is the padded suspension system. However, it’s that very system that is being questioned. While an improvement over the previous helmet, the PASGT, the LWH’s system is apparently not as good as that on the Army’s Advanced Combat Helmet.
Dr. Robert Meaders, a former Navy flight surgeon, started Operation Helmet more than two years ago to help his grandson’s Marine unit upgrade their helmets with Army-style padding before deploying to Iraq. The organization gathers donations to upgrade PASGT (still used by many Marines) and the new LWH.
It appears that a Joint Helmet Project would have been in order, after all.