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Next Generation Aviation Helmet Shell

Description:

TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Air Platform 

OBJECTIVE: Improve ballistic performance of the HGU-56P helmet through retrofit or replacement of the helmet shell and/or lining foam. 

DESCRIPTION: Improved armor protection is a fundamental component of lethality, one of the six army modernization priorities of the Army. Current ballistic protection of the HGU-56P helmet is limited to a .22 caliber, 17-grain, T37 FSP. Multiple ballistic material technologies have been published in the last year suggesting ballistic improvement to the aviation helmet can be achieved with minimal weight increase. These include graphene: https://www.azonano.com/article.aspx?ArticleID=3934 Diamene: https://www.materialstoday.com/carbon/news/diamene-looks-like-graphene-acts-like-diamond/ Nanomaterials: http://zeenews.india.com/news/space/paper-thin-material-that-can-stop-flying-bullets-created_811129.html Sheer thickening fluids: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2017/06/02/air-force-cadet-creates-bulletproof-breakthrough.html Structured polymer composites: https://theweek.com/articles/470303/bulletproof-super-material-thats-paperthin Composite metal foam: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3529765/The-bulletproof-FOAM-turns-gunshot-dust-Material-used-make-lightweight-body-armour-protect-cars.html This solicitation intends to identify ballistic improvement solutions that can be applied to the existing helmet as a retrofit or replacement of the shell or foam with the least amount of weight increase and/or structural changes and quantify the improvement. Objective is to provide US National Institute of Justice (NIJ) Level II (9mm) ballistic protection. Current helmet shell protection is called out in 1680-ALSE-101, Aircrew Integrated Helmet System Fabrication Specification. 

PHASE I: This effort shall create a study identifying the most promising ballistic improvement technologies allowing retrofit of the aviator helmet with the lowest weight and cost to enable production. The study shall also project durability and retrofit time for each solution. A demonstration of ballistic performance of the technology proposed is required. Options for introduction of the new material(s) proposed include retrofit of the existing helmet (most desirable), replacement of the helmet shell, replacement of the helmet liner foam, or replacement of both the liner and foam (lease desirable). Ballistic improvement can be projected as a function of keeping total helmet weight equal or less than existing helmet of each size. I.e., if technology proposed will not improve ballistic performance over existing helmet weight, than that technology should be considered a "no-go". A threshold requirement of 10% ballistic improvement to the existing helmet is required as an entry criteria for Phase II. 

PHASE II: The best two solutions identified in phase I will be used to build or retrofit a helmet and tested to quantify ballistic improvement. Four helmet(s) will be furnished to the vendor for retrofit and ballistic testing. The retrofit process for the helmet will be documented for each solution. A summary report at the end of the study shall document ballistic performance improvement of each solution, identify exact weight impact to the helmet, identify retrofit time and cost of each solution and assess durability of each solution. If acceptable ballistic improvement is found without unacceptable increase in weight, a new set of tests will be performed to ensure the helmet still meets all requirements of the PRODUCT SPECIFICATION, Aircrew Ballistic Helmet (ABH), HGU-56/P Shell and Maxillofacial Shield (MFS). The contractor shall update the product specification with the new ballistic performance capability to reflect the improved armor protection and a projection of increased weight based on prototype production. Perform bench testing for all helmet specification requirements on production representative prototypes. Government will supply an additional thirty six (36) helmets to be retrofitted to support bench and field test/evaluation for all requirements of the helmet specification. Deliverables will include test plan, test report, updated helmet specification reflecting measured improvement in ballistic performance, minutes for all meetings conducted with the vendor, presentation slides for retrofit application of ballistic material, a white paper detailing the retrofit process of the ballistic material, and a cost report detailing retrofit cost as a function of helmet quantity from a minimum of 50 and up to 1000 at a time. 

PHASE III: Develop production processes for best retrofit solution found in Phase II. Update the helmet item specification to reflect final production process weight. Aviation helmets used throughout DOD may find retrofit application for this same process. Commercial jet engines may find an ultra light coating application capable of resisting turbine blade failure causing injury or death to a passenger aircraft. 

REFERENCES: 

1: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2017/06/02/air-force-cadet-creates-bulletproof-breakthrough.html

2:  http://zeenews.india.com/news/space/paper-thin-material-that-can-stop-flying-bullets-created_811129.html

3:  https://www.azonano.com/article.aspx?ArticleID=3934

4:  https://www.materialstoday.com/carbon/news/diamene-looks-like-graphene-acts-like-diamond/

5:  https://www.siliconrepublic.com/machines/mass-produce-graphene-solved

6:  https://theweek.com/articles/470303/bulletproof-super-material-thats-paperthin

7:  https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3529765/The-bulletproof-FOAM-turns-gunshot-dust-Material-used-make-lightweight-body-armour-protect-cars.html

KEYWORDS: Aviation Helmet, Ballistic Performance 

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