In light of the recent debacle over proposals to change the U.S. Marine Corps' hats, perhaps the U.S. Army can redeem the military's "cool-factor" with its new, futuristic helmet.
HEaDS-Up helmet packs in new safety and technological features. (Image source: U.S. Army)
The Helmet Electronics and Display System-Upgradeable Protection (HEaDS-UP) was unveiled last month, but more recently was showcased at the Association of the U.S. Army's annual meeting.
This helmet, which has been compared to looking like those in the popular video game "Halo," was developed by researchers at the Massachusetts-based Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center.
The helmet not only has enhanced protective measures, but also embedded technology that includes a see-through, heads-up display and communication capabilities, according to the Army's article.
With 72 percent of all combat injuries impacting the face, the engineers sought to bridge a "technology gap" with a mandible and visor on the helmet.
"Soldiers wear the eyewear, but everything outside the eyewear is open. This will be the biggest advantage to the soldier," NSRDEC engineer Don Lee said, according to the Army.
At AUSA's meeting, Brian Dowling with Revision, a company helping develop the technology, described more about the helmet.
Prototype testing of the helmet has occurred and data is being provided to military leaders who will decide what technology could be adopted in new helmets. (Image source: U.S. Army)
The new helmet, Dowling said, has "protection for a rifle round threat." The helmet includes cushioning to meet a 14-feet-per-second impact requirement, which will help reduce cases of traumatic brain injuries -- an injury that have been called the "signature wound of our generation."
"It's come a long way since the old Kevlar and pascut helmets of the past," Dowling continued.
Watch the video showing off the helmet's new ballistic visor and mandible, which are removable, and other features:
The removable elements would allow soldiers to wear only a single helmet, as opposed to a different one for a mounted or dismounted situation.
An unintended benefit of the helmet was that it prevented sand and dust from getting into soldiers mouths and eyes during testing.
Whether this helmet will be officially adopted is not yet decided. According to the Army, data from prototype testing was given to the Program Executive Office Soldier and the Marine Corps, which will decide what elements of the technology could make it into new helmets.
Read more about the helmet in the Army's article.