Tim Ripley

The UK's Defence Research Evaluation Agency (DERA) has developed an innovative lightweight fighter pilots helmet as part of its on-going work to improve aircrew safety.

Described as "the future of pilot head protection", the new helmet will give a weight reduction over conventional helmets of 25-30%, says Dr Adrian Huggins, business group manager, cockpit systems. The helmet is on display at DERA's stand at Farnborough (Hall 1-D40).The helmet is made from a novel composite sandwich structure which gives it either equal impact protection at reduced weight or better impact protection at the same weight as current helmets. "The lightweight helmet has been developed initially for fighter pilots," says Huggins. It incorporates a 'clamshell' design which allows the helmet to be removed much more easily and safely. It is also more comfortable, reduces pressure on the neck of the pilot and the more rigid outer shell provides a stable platform on which to mount electro-optical systems. Weight reduction and ease of use are increased as the helmet integrates the breathing system, bio-chemical protection, active noise reduction and communications equipment.

"The technologies and manufacturing techniques developed by DERA to produce this helmet can also be exploited in the civil markets," says Huggins. "For example, in the emergency services such as the fire brigade, airborne police and riot police. Other applications could include motorcycle helmets, high-risk leisure pursuits and winter sports."

Source: Flight Daily News