Gentex Helmet Developments from Maneuver Conference 2016
Gentex is commonly known as a helmet company but they are much more than that. Their specialty is actually producing solutions that go far beyond just the shell of a helmet and ballistic protection. They are very concerned with creating solutions that make the soldier’s ability to complete the mission safer and more efficient. Their three latest developments all meet that mark.
Gentex MCHC Inside. Photo by Will Rodriguez
The first new development I saw at the Gentex booth was the Mission Configuarble Helmet Cover (MCHC). It features a fitted helmet cover with rails and night vision mount already attached. They recommend using one screw for the NVG mount but even without the screw the helmet cover only allows a couple of degrees of wobble. The helmet cover eliminates having to drill extra holes in a helmet (especially for rails) as well as simplifying moving one’s kit to a new helmet. The attachment system also seems much simpler than previous helmet cover solutions and includes integrated wire management. Estimated MSRP is going to be $189.
Brain buckets have always been uncomfortable. Gentex’s latest suspension system, Ops Core ACH upgrade kit is the most comfortable I’ve tried allowing for a great degree of airflow. It also provides improved protection from the shock resulting from a blow to the helmet. Again, installation looks easy peasy as the unit is one piece and Velcro friendly. The center segment is removable though for those wearing a headset. The kit also includes rails and chinstrap. Estimated MSRP is $117.
Gentex has not forgotten our armored crewman and vehicle operators with a new CVC helmet. Three levels of protection are available with the highest rated shell providing 9mm level protection. The real improvement though is the partnership with Bose in an improved communications system. From my days in a Bradley or M1 tank I can say there was plenty of room for improvement in the quality of radio transmissions to be made. Often that lack of fidelity was made up with max volume. I’ve never seen let alone heard of a poor Bose product so the improvements in this area is pretty likely. Unfortunately there wasn’t a working communication system to plug into to hear the difference.
I’m hoping to secure an MCHC and ACH upgrade kit for my own gear to provide real hands on feedback but Gentex’s reputation is pretty sterling. I bet troops are going to love these improvements.