The US Army’s new-generation plastic helmet weighs less than 1.5 kg
The developers of the new plastic helmet for the US Army from Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center promised to make it extremely lightweight – lighter than 1,5 kg, as during the Second World War. This will reduce the burden on the neck muscles and reliably protect the head from bullets and debris.
The helmet was named ASN II (Advanced Combat Helmet Generation II). It is almost a quarter lighter than the current ASN helmet. ACH II is able to withstand 9-mm bullets, shrapnel and improvised explosive devices.
At the beginning of the Second World War, the US Army developed the famous protective helmet “steel pot” M-1. It was made of steel with a leather inner strap and later “won” two more wars – in Korea and Vietnam. M-1 protected from dirt, debris, ricochet, light fragments, and weighed 1.4 kg.
In the early 80’s, in connection with the emergence of new more powerful weapons, the helmets had to be significantly strengthened by the use of Kevlar fibers, capable of resisting pistol bullets and larger fragments. This immediately led to their weighting to almost 2 kg and a corresponding rise in price. In 2003, the army entered an improved, more lightweight helmet weighing 1.7 kg.
ASN II is even lighter – less than 1.5 kg. This was achieved by replacing Kevlar with a special plastic – ultrahigh-molecular polyethylene UHMWPE. It is a semicrystalline polymer, which is widely used in the manufacture of various plastic products. It is characterized by high strength, durability and low weight.