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Military services tend to allocate resources for the constant improvement of soldiers’ personal security. Recently, US Airborne Soldiers played a vital part in the feedback process when they recently jumped with a groundbreaking new Integrated Head Protection System (IHPS) during operational testing. Soldiers from the Engineer Brigade geared up to work with the U.S. Army Operational Test Command’s Airborne and Special Operations Test Directorate (ABNSOTD) to test the new armor. “Operational Testing is about Soldiers. It’s about making sure that the systems developed are effective and suitable for the environments in which Soldiers train and fight,” said Col. Brad Mock, director of ABNSOTD.

As reported on, the IHPS is one of the six components of the Soldier Protection System (body armor), providing a larger area of protection for the head and face, and includes a system to measure head trauma. According to Leon L. Price, test officer at ABNSOTD, the purpose of the operational test using Airborne paratroopers is to collect data to evaluate the suitability and safety of the IHPS when worn during static line Airborne operations. During the test, soldiers participated in New Equipment Training, this was followed by a live parachute jump from a C-17 high-performance aircraft at 380 meters.

“I gave fair, honest and comprehensive feedback on the helmet,” said Cpl. Samuel Emling, a Combat Engineer from engineer brigade. “I enjoyed the testing. The test personnel were extremely professional.”

“Soldiers and test units have the ability to impact the development of systems by training while executing realistic tasks, and then provide direct input to the combat developer of the system,” said Lt. Col. Vinny Intini, executive officer at ABNSOTD. “Their feedback is invaluable.”

The Test Manager Steve McNair, said the Army is expected to field 7,000 systems to separate brigades during the fiscal year 2018 before moving to full rate production for fielding across the force.