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Army 82nd Airborne Soldiers using new advanced helmet

U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers' boots. (U.S. Army Reserve photo by Staff Sgt. Ken Scar)
February 16, 2024

The Army has begun fielding a new Next-Gen Integrated Head Protection System (NG-IHPS), said to supply greater protection at nearly half the weight of previous combat helmets.

The new fielding represents the Army’s ongoing efforts to improve the protective gear available to soldiers, replacing the Integrated Head Protection System (IHPS). The IHPS weighed just over three pounds. An additional ballistic applique, which offered further protection against rounds, was available but added two pounds to the helmet’s weight. 

Increasing protection for soldiers from rifles while still providing a lightweight, wearable helmet was a primary consideration for the new Next-Gen helmet, according to

“This is world-leading rifle threat protection we’re providing to our soldiers,” said Maj. Matthew Nulk, assistant program manager of the Program Executive Office Soldier’s Head Protection Team.

The NG-IHPS, weighing just over three pounds, provides ballistic protection without additional weight. NG-IHPS also incorporates a night-vision bracket built into a separate mandible protector. This inclusion was purposefully designed to integrate with the Enhanced Night Vision Goggle-Binocular and Integrated Visual Augmentation Systems that the Army plans to field in the future. Other features included on the NG-IHPS include a suspension and boltless retention system, hearing protection and removable cover.  

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“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, Army’s Program Executive Office Soldier, according to an Army press release.

The new helmet is being fielded by approximately 2,000 soldiers assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division. Manufactured by Avon Protection under a contract award viable until 2028, the Army has an acquisition objective of 190,618 helmets. Fielding is expected to continue for the next three years, primarily by soldiers in high-combat zones. The first-generation IHPS will continue to be distributed to soldiers, not in close combat. 

The NG-IHPS is the latest advancement in Army tactical combat gear. In 2023, the Cold Temperature Artic Protection System, or CTAPS, was fielded in Alaska for eight months. The new system incorporates advanced fabrics, supplying superior temperature protection in a lighter, less bulky suit. Further fielding of the Modular Scalable Vest (MSV), the first ballistic vest to enable five sizes rather than three, was conducted.

The new MSV was developed in an effort to supply smaller or female soldiers with improved ballistic protection through better-fitting vests. Additionally, a Next-Gen bomb suit is expected to be fielded in 2024. The advanced suit features built-in infrared and thermal sensors, 360-degree viewing, and improved maneuverability for the wearer.