The ACH (Advanced Combat Helmet) is the Modular Integrated Communications Helmet (MICH) without the communications components. MICH is a modular helmet system that provides ballistic, fragmentation, aural and impact protection, while being night vision, communications and Nuclear, Biological and Chemical (NBC) equipment compatible. The MICH is intended to replace standard government and commercial helmets, communications and aural protection items used by Special Forces. MICH was under development for four years before it was fielded to the Special Operations Command in January 2001.
The Advanced Combat Helmet (ACH) was adopted by the Army in 2002 and is one of the fourteen Rapid Fielding Initiative items developed in 2004 for deploying soldiers on their way to Iraq or Afghanistan. The ACH is made of a new type of Kevlar, that provides improved ballistic and impact protection. Tests show it will withstand a hit from a 9mm round at close range, a test the PASGT would fail (photo, right). The ACH as a platform is compatible with the current night vision devices, communications packages, and NBC defense (Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical) equipment, although some special mounting kits are needed to achieve compatibility.
The ACH is smaller and 3.5 lbs lighter then the PASGT model and is cushioned on the inside, which sits more comfortably on a soldiers head. It also has a different suspension system inside that allows a soldier to fight more effectively when wearing body armor.
The ACH allows maximum sensory and situational awareness for the operator. This includes an unobstructed field of view and increased ambient hearing capabilities. It is compatible with standard and SOF-unique clothing and individual equipment.
The ACH's retention/suspension system provides unsurpassed balance, stability, and comfort. This system provides for proper size, fit, and ventilation. The ACH's pad suspension system provides superior impact protection throughout all operational scenarios, including static-line airborne operations.
The ACH provides ballistic protection within this spectrum of environments:
-40 oF to +130 oF
salt water or fresh water
petroleums, oils, and lubricants (POL)
With the former PASGT helmet, soldiers have complained that when they are lying on their stomachs firing rifles, their body armor rides up, tipping their helmet over their eyes. The ACH was designed to address that problem and the Army plans to issue the helmet to all 840,000 soldiers in the force by 2007.
The Marine Corps will not adopt the ACH. They will replace their PASGT helmets with a new model in the same Kraut shape but with the improved Kevlar material.
The ACH has been criticized for its smaller size, raising fears that it will not provide enough protection for the back and sides of the head.
The ACH is covered by TM 10-8470-204-10 "Technical Manual, Operators Manual for Advanced Combat Helmet (ACH)" dated 31 May 2004. The NSN is 8470-01-476-2524.
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