Helmets are among the oldest forms of personal protective equipment. Historical records reveal they were used as early as the 23rd century BC. Over the centuries, their construction has evolved from leather, to iron, to bronze, to steel and finally advanced woven and unidirectional fabrics.
The era of “modern helmets” finds its roots in World War I with the increased lethality from the use of artillery and resultant fragmentation threats. Steel helmets were introduced in Europe in 1915, and while they did not protect against rifle bullet penetrations they offered casualty reduction benefits that warranted issue and use. During and post WWI the material science of helmets design continued to evolve, resulting in the introduction of Hadfield Steel Helmets with improved protection levels. The U.S. Military introduced the M1“steel pot” helmet in 1942, which utilized Hadfield Steel construction. The M1 helmets were standard issue through the mid-1980s.
With advancements in design and manufacturing procedures, Kevlar™ was introduced into the Personal Armor System for Ground Troops (PASGT) Helmet in the mid-1980s. This change from steel to woven fiber/fabric technology represented a quantum leap in Personal Protection Equipment. The PASGT Helmet continues to be used worldwide, but as advancement in design, material science, manufacturing and threats evolved newer lighter weight helmets also evolved.
The U.S. Special Operations Command developed the Modular Integrated Communications Helmet (MICH) later renamed the Advanced Combat Helmet, as a replacement to the PASGT. The U.S. Marine Corps utilized a modified PASGT design for their Light Weight Helmet (LWH). Along with improved ballistic designs, wearer comfort has been addressed with the addition of different suspension systems and chinstrap options.
Modern Military Ballistic Helmets continue to evolve offering superior protection, comfort and accessories for mission specific task.
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