The Army has already secretly fielded its lighter, stronger helmet to a handful of lucky soldiers

Military Tech
The Integrated Head Protection System ( Cox)

Editor's Note: This article by Matthew Cox originally appeared on, a leading source of news for the military and veteran community.

In late September, the Army secretly fielded a small number of helmets that offer increased protection against high-performance sniper rounds.

Army equipment officials "quietly fielded" 150 of these improved Integrated Head Protection System (IHPS) helmets to soldiers from the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division at Fort Riley, Kansas as part of the first issue of the service's new Enhanced Night Vision Goggle-Binoculars, Brig. Gen. Anthony Potts, commander of Program Executive Office Soldier, told reporters today at the 2019 Association of the United States of the Army's annual meeting.

The first generation of IHPS weighs about three pounds, in size medium, but to get to a "classified level of protection against higher-level threats, what we had to do for our soldiers is put another two-pound applique on the top of the helmet," Potts said.

"Soldiers don't particularly like the fact that they have five pounds on their head, but if you are traveling through urban areas or areas where there is a known sniper threat, our soldiers are willing to put the additional applique on for at least a period of time," he added.

But Army scientists at the Army Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center have developed a new process for molding the polyethylene helmet material that reduces its weight by up to 40%, Douglas Tamilio, director of the NSRDEC, told reporters.

The new process allowed manufacturers to produce an IHPS helmet that offers the same ballistic protection without the additional applique.

"So, instead of having five pounds to protect against that threat in a very specific region of your helmet, now the entire helmet protects against that threat at three pounds," Potts said.

The Army is working with defense companies to produce more of the new design, Potts said.

"We have done enough testing to know that it absolutely meets the current level of threat, but we also know that it exceeds that," Potts said. "Now, it's about getting more companies that can actually press that mold. So, once that goes out, we will no longer field that applique for those IHPS helmets."

This article originally appeared on

More articles from

Nothing says joint force battle management like a ride-sharing app. (Task & Purpose photo illustration)

The Air Force's top general says one of the designers of the ride-sharing app Uber is helping the branch build a new data-sharing network that the Air Force hopes will help service branches work together to detect and destroy targets.

The network, which the Air Force is calling the advanced battle management system (ABMS), would function a bit like the artificial intelligence construct Cortana from Halo, who identifies enemy ships and the nearest assets to destroy them at machine speed, so all the fleshy humans need to do is give a nod of approval before resuming their pipe-smoking.

Read More
The newly painted F-15 Eagle flagship, dubbed the Heritage Jet, was painted to honor 1st Lt. David Kingsley, the namesake for Kingsley Field, and his ultimate sacrifice. (U.S. Air National Guard/Senior Master Sgt. Jennifer Shirar)

An F-15C Eagle is sporting a badass World War II-era paint job in honor of a fallen bomber pilot who gave everything to ensure his men survived a deadly battle.

Read More
The wreckage of a U.S. Air Force E-11A Battlefield Airborne Communications Node aircraft is seen after a crash in Deh Yak district of Ghazni province, Afghanistan on January 27, 2020 (Reuters photo)

A U.S. E-11A Battlefield Airborne Communications Node aircraft crashed on Monday on Afghanistan, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein has confirmed.

Read More
In this June 7, 2009 file photo Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant (24) points to a player behind him after making a basket in the closing seconds against the Orlando Magic in Game 2 of the NBA basketball finals in Los Angeles. Bryant, the 18-time NBA All-Star who won five championships and became one of the greatest basketball players of his generation during a 20-year career with the Los Angeles Lakers, died in a helicopter crash Sunday, Jan. 26, 2020. He was 41. (Associated Press/Mark J. Terrill)

Beloved basketball legend Kobe Bryant, his daughter, and seven other people were killed in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California on Sunday. Two days earlier, Army Spc. Antonio I. Moore was killed during a vehicle rollover accident while conducting route clearing operations in Syria.

Which one more deserves your grief and mourning? According to Maj. Gen. John R. Evans, commander of the U.S. Army Cadet Command, you only have enough energy for one.

Read More
Jessica Purcell of St. Petersburg, a captain in the Army Reserve, was pregnant with son Jameson when she was told at a MacDill Air Force Base clinic not to worry about lumps under her arm. She now is diagnosed stage 4 cancer. Jameson is 10 months old. (Tampa Bay Times/Scott Keeler via Tribune News Service)

Jessica Purcell, a captain in the U.S. Army Reserve, was pregnant with her first child when she noticed a swollen lymph node in her left underarm.

Health-care providers at a MacDill Air Force Base clinic told her it was likely an infection or something related to pregnancy hormones. The following year they determined the issue had resolved itself.

It hadn't. A doctor off base found a large mass in her underarm and gave her a shocking diagnosis: stage 2 breast cancer.

Purcell was pregnant again. Her daughter had just turned 1. She was 35. And she had no right to sue for malpractice.

A 1950 Supreme Court ruling known as the Feres doctrine prohibits military members like Purcell from filing a lawsuit against the federal government for any injuries suffered while on active duty. That includes injury in combat, but also rape and medical malpractice, such as missing a cancer diagnosis.

Thanks in part to Tampa lawyer Natalie Khawam, a provision in this year's national defense budget allows those in active duty to file medical malpractice claims against the government for the first time since the Feres case.

With the Department of Defense overseeing the new claims process, the question now is how fairly and timely complaints will be judged. And whether, in the long run, this new move will help growing efforts to overturn the ruling and allow active duty members to sue like everyone else.

Read More