SOCOM Wants A Next-Generation Helmet For Its Coxswains

Gear
a US Navy Special Warfare Combatant-craft crewman firing a GAU-17 gatling gun mounted on a SOC-R boat.
Department of Defense photo

U.S. Special Operations Command is actively seeking partners to provide its coxswains with a new tactical helmet, according to a new federal filing.


SOCOM issued a pre-solicitation notice for a possible multi-year contract on May 12 to produce a “coxswain helmet system” — part of the Special Operations Forces Personal Equipment Advanced Requirements, or SPEAR Family of Tactical Headborne Systems, a broader program that’s been looking into other helmet types for the past two months. This specific notice is for coxswains — primarily Special Warfare Combatant-Craft Crewmen, specially qualified sailors who operate advanced SEAL watercraft.

The new notice, which gives potential bidders a heads-up and lets SOCOM gather more bidder info before committing to the project, was first flagged by Soldier Systems this morning.

SOCOM’s desired coxswain helmet, according to the notice, “will consist of a non-ballistic helmet system with modular accessories,” and oh, what accessories: a visor; a ballistic mandible; a non-ballistic mandible; and a two-piece ballistic appliqué. The helmets will also need to come with rails, pads, exterior Velcro sets, adapters, and shrouds. The proposal is for a five-year fixed price contract, and the actual solicitation is expected to be announced in June. The contract is part of a larger procurement of helmets, which is projected to run between $150,000 and $95 million.

Related: The Army Just Started Producing Its Brand New Ballistics Helmet »

“Those are the guys who drive the fast boats around and this is the coxswain version of that FTHS suite,” Brian Dowling, director of US program management for Revision Military Ltd., told Military1 last November. “In this case we take the bump helmet and kit it up with a blunt mandible to give you protection against dashboards. It also has a visor.”

The Coxswain Helmet system, according to Soldier Systems, “is the most interesting helmet system from a technical standpoint and more closely resembles the recent Next Generation Helmet work done for SOF by Ops-Core and Revision.”  One of those systems, Revision’s Batlskin Caiman Head System, is available on the open market.

The pre-solicitation calls for commercial off-the-shelf items and dictates that the helmet should come in five sizes — none of this one-size-fits-all nonsense — and five color schemes: tan, neutral gray, desert, woodland, and multicam.

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