U.S.A.F. Security Forces to Get NextGen 2.0 Helmets

  • Defensemirror.com Bureau
  • 04:19 AM, September 27, 2022
  • 734
U.S.A.F. Security Forces to Get NextGen 2.0 Helmets

The Department of the Air Force (DAF) security forces are set to don the Security Forces NextGen Helmet 2.0 later this year.

Following a recent contract award by the Air Force Security Forces Center, Helmet 2.0 includes the ability to mount a wider variety of accessories, features bolt-on accessory rails and a night vision goggle mount that’s easy to adjust or replace, and a chinstrap extender for gas masks.

The 2.0 effort is part of AFSFC’s “replacement through attrition program,” and builds on the functionality of the SF NextGen 1.0 helmet released in 2020, said Master Sgt. John Sutherland, individual protective equipment program manager at the center.

Part of that modernization includes listening to and implementing, where possible, feedback from security forces Airmen across the enterprise.

“Feedback from the field is critical and is actually the reason that some of the characteristics for the 2.0 helmet were developed,” said Master Sgt. John Sutherland, individual protective equipment program manager at the center. “No amount of testing or technical evaluations will cover everything because at the end of the day, only Defenders know what Defenders need.”

“The field has multiple avenues of approach from surveys, direct visits to installations and open lines of communication like quarterly teleconferences and emails,” said Master Sgt. Raymond Santiago, AFSFC’s security forces individual equipment manager.

The AFSFC’s S-4 Individual Equipment section is a customer service entity and relies on the enterprise to provide feedback and submit issues, Santiago added.

“The best way to get feedback from the field is by putting our equipment through real-life practical scenarios that a Defender might face in every part of their career from year one all the way through retirement,” said Tech. Sgt. Travis Hillard, Defender instructor supervisor with the 343rd Training Squadron’s Security Forces Apprentice course in San Antonio.

Hillard, other instructors and students were instrumental in testing functionality before AFSFC gave the modified helmet the thumbs-up.

The Airmen put the helmets through “rigorous testing” conducted during field training which included mounted and dismounted operations, low crawl/high crawl and a variety of other air base defense training objectives, Sutherland said.

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

Participants also completed an extensive survey on the equipment and its functionality.

The NextGen helmet program is just one part of the greater AFSFC’s individual protective equipment effort to standardize and modernize security forces equipment across the Air and Space Forces.

“Helmet 2.0 is only one aspect of the initiative,” Sutherland said. “The Modular Scalable Vest and Female Body Armor … Model Defender which will provide equipment such as pouches, holsters, duty belts and more for each and every member. These efforts ensure that Defenders can expect technologically relevant and high-quality gear no matter where they are performing their mission.”

“The need to innovate gear is important for the protection of our Airmen and Guardians,” Santiago said.

Consistently rolling out new and updated equipment across the enterprise helps create the elite weapon systems Defenders need to be in the modern operating environment.

“In five years’ time, we may be fielding IPE solutions that we’ve only seen in science fiction a few years ago,” Santiago.

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