The US Air Force will provide the Defender installation with next-generation helmets

The US Air Force has announced it will distribute the NextGen Forces 2.0 helmet to defenders at its facilities later this year.

The procurement of the ballistic helmets is part of an Air Force Security Forces Center (AFSFC) initiative to allow defenders to field a wider range of accessories.

The 2.0 helmet features a chinstrap extension for gas masks, an accessory rail and an adjustable/interchangeable mount for night vision goggles.

The protective gear’s functionality builds on NextGen 1.0 of the security force, released in 2020, and is part of the center’s “replacement through attrition program.”

“In today’s society, we’re all familiar with wanting to upgrade our phones to the latest and greatest, but that hasn’t affected some of the most important things in our profession, like ballistic helmets,” said AFSFC Master Sgt. John Sutherland said.

“As the world’s leading air power, we are making great strides in renewing and modernizing airframes and other operational technology, so it only makes sense to modernize the equipment used by those who protect them.”

NextGen helmet for security forces 2.0. Photo: Gregory Hand/AFSFC

Research and Fields for Helmet 2.0

Prior to the release of Helmet 2.0, research was conducted to determine the standards required by defenders.

“Feedback from the field is very important and is actually the reason some of the features for the 2.0 helmet were developed,” the program manager explained.

“No amount of tests or technical evaluations will cover everything, because at the end of the day only Defenders know what Defender needs.”

The helmets were also put to the test during training exercises that included mounted and dismounted actions, low/high crawl and other air base defense exercises.

“The best way to get feedback from the field is to use our equipment in real-world, hands-on scenarios that a Defender might encounter at every stage of their career, from first year to retirement,” said Defender Supervisor Tech. sergeant Travis Hillard said.

“These helmets were soaked in sweat and baked into the sand, and after a few hours of use, each tester was equipped with a gas mask and jacket to ensure compatibility with the helmet,” he added.

The latest equipment for defenders

Continually providing new and updated equipment to defender installations will allow the elite weapons systems they need to operate in today’s operational arena to be developed in line with the force.

“Threats are growing and evolving, so it’s critical that our team provides the enterprise with the latest technology to ensure mission capabilities are not compromised and our greatest assets are protected,” said AFSFC Chief of Security. Raymond Santiago said.

“Five years from now, we can produce IPE (personal protective equipment) solutions that we only saw in science fiction a few years ago.” The US Air Force will provide the Defender installation with next-generation helmets

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