Army Begins to Field Next Generation Combat Helmet

PEO Soldier distributed the Next-Generation Integrated Head Protection System to an estimated 2,000 soldiers from the 1st Brigade Combat Team and 82nd Airborne Division. This new combat helmet marked the first-unit-equipment that enhances Soldier protection.

New-Generation IHPS

The Army’s newest helmet is the first capable of withstanding small arms fire without added protection. It is 3.27 pounds and looks identical to its predecessor. The combat-ready helmet contains a retention system, suspension system, helmet cover, and a night vision device bracket. These features can integrate a mandible protector, hearing protection, communications, and heads-up displays like the Integrated Visual Augmentation System and the Enhanced Night Vision Google-Binocular.

“This fielding marks significant progress for Soldier protective equipment as it equips Soldiers with protection against relevant battlefield threats, and the innovative helmet design is a purpose-built platform for integration now, and with future Soldier-enabling devices,” said Lt. Col. Ken Elgort, product manager for Soldier Protective Equipment.

Older IHPS

The older IHPS, which began fielding in 2018 provided better blunt force protection at a lighter weight than other models at the time. The NG-IHPS is about 5% heavier than its previous version, which is still in use across the Army.

“The NG-IHPS provides increased ballistic and fragmentation protection while reducing the weight required to previously reach this protection level by 40%,” said Maj. Matthew Nulk, assistant program manager of the Head Protection Team. “This is world-leading rifle threat protection we’re providing to our soldiers.”

The Army expects to field 190,000 NG-IHPS by 2028 according to Elgort. The new combat helmets come in small, medium, large, and extra-large sizes. The helmets are being built by Gentex Corporation and Avon Protection Ceradyne, officials said. Developers are still working on improving the helmet further even as it begins to field.

There will be a testing period for the padding in the helmet this spring. Soldiers’ feedback will be recorded on the different pad options. The office expects to begin fielding the best pad option in early 2025.

What do you think about this news?