Air Force security forces now have a new, lighter, and more comfortable helmet.
The Air Force Security Forces Center is sending out new ballistic helmets to replace the Advanced Combat Helmet, which Airmen complained were bulky and uncomfortable. The lower-profile helmet comes with better padding and a railing built in to hold equipment like night-vision goggles and communications gear, according to an Oct. 8 Air Force release.
The 71st Security Forces Squadron at Vance Air Force Base, Okla., was the first to receive the helmet, which will roll out to all units in the U.S. and overseas.
“It is actually really quick to put on and easily adjustable, allowing me more time to check my Airmen and make sure everyone’s gear is on straight,” said squadron member Senior Airman Craig Smith. “The biggest improvement I noticed is it’s lightweight, and if I take a hard turn in a Humvee, I know I’m not going to break my neck.”
The center is modernizing much of security forces’ gear, including protective equipment, the new M18 handgun, more M4A1 rifles, the M110A1 semiautomatic precision-engagement rifle, the M320A1 grenade launcher, and a reconfigurable vest.
In June, the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center awarded a contract to the Virginia-based firm TSSi to provide its first body armor specifically made for women. Female guards disliked how the older gear fit, and armor designed with women’s proportions in mind will protect them better, the service said.
The changes come after the Air Force’s “Year of the Defender” in 2019, in which the service conducted an extensive review of security forces to find areas for improvement, from new equipment to tactics and training. The service worked through 900 specific items that needed change and has spent more than $180 million to update their gear.