Human Factors Assessment of U.S. Marine Lightweight Helmet Suspension Systems: Standard "A" Pad System vs. a Proposed Suspension System "B" HeadGard

Report No. ARL-TR-5657
Authors: Richard S. Bruno; Jim A. Faughn; Paul Shorter
Date/Pages: September 2011; 76 pages
Abstract: The U.S. Naval Research Laboratory requested that the U.S. Army Research Laboratory's Human Research and Engineering Directorate compare the HeadGard helmet suspension system with the Marine standard "A" pad suspension system currently used with the lightweight helmet (LWH). The goal of this effort was to assess the HeadGard helmet suspension's ability to protect the head without compromising the user's comfort and other factors, such as fit and stability. Human factors issues, such as helmet stability, effects of helmet weight on the head, fit, sizing, system comfort, airflow, and others, were assessed. Overall, the HeadGard mounted in the LWH must be compatible with the Marine standard modular tactical vest and not hinder the user's mobility and comfort. HeadGard with the LWH must be compatible with sights and shoulder-fired weapons. The objective of this assessment was to provide the Marine Corps System Command with user feedback information about the HeadGard helmet suspension from U.S. Marines performing generic combat tasks.
The results of this study proved that the HeadGard suspension was rated better than the pad suspension on several design factors during dynamic combat-related maneuvers or scenarios. The participants favored the design factors of the HeadGard suspension system, such as perceived airflow, improved design, and comfortable fit. There were no statistical differences between the suspensions during less dynamic scenarios or activities, such as weapon firing, mask and balaclava interface, sand bag filling, and suspension washing and reinstallation.
Distribution: Approved for public release
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Last Update / Reviewed: September 1, 2011