The ACH replaces the old PASGT helmet in the Army, and offers a number of improvements including exposed ears to improve hearing, a set mount for night vision gear, better protection against bullets in covered areas, and a system of internal pads that improve protection against blasts and their accompanying potential for brain trauma. That padding has been a source of controversy, as the US Marines’ Light Weight Helmets (LWH) have been criticized for lacking this feature.
In May 2009, the Army recalled helmets from Gentex. Now, on May 13/10, they have issued a recall notice for 44,000 ArmorSource helmets in the field…
May 18/10: Small business qualifier Diesel Engineering, Inc. in Englewood Cliffs, NJ received a $20.8 million firm-fixed-price-contract for engine upgrade kits, to be installed in Israel’s Achzarit heavy armored personnel carriers. The Achzarit engine upgrade kits modify the engine, transmission and cooling systems, resulting in an increase in horsepower of approximately 20%, and an increase in acceleration of approximately 200%.
Work will be performed in Elizabeth, NJ (71%), and Prague, Czech Republic (29%), and is expected to be complete by June 2013. The contract was not competitively procured by the American contract representative, the Naval Sea Systems Command in Washington Navy Yard, DC (N00024-10-C-4200).
The Achzarit is an unusual APC, in that it uses the hulls of captured Soviet T-54/ T-55 main battle tanks as its base. The Israelis had quite a few of those to work with, and found their level of protection to be quite useful in urban warfare scenarios. They sport 650 hp Detroit Diesel 8V-71TA or 850 hp 8V-92TA engines, and serve as ultra-heavy ambulances, or mount unmanned weapon turrets of various calibers on top to create heavy APC (Armored Personnel Carrier) or IFV (Infantry Fighting Vehicle) variants. Achzarits can work alongside Israel’s unique and complementary Merkava main battle tanks, whose distinctive features include the ability to carry troops inside by removing ammunition, a sniper port in the rear access door, and a 60mm mortar in the turret top. Israel has also gone ahead and developed an even heavier IFV, the Namer, based on the Merkava’s chassis.
In October 2008, Boeing updated its AH-6J “Little Bird” Special Forces attack helicopter to create the AH-6i, an armed reconnaissance helicopter that seemed positioned to compete for Iraq’s ARH requirement. At the time, Boeing Rotorcraft Business Development director Dave Palm added that Boeing had been approached by several customers who needed a light helicopter/ARH solution. The AH-6 features a modern Electro-Optical day/night surveillance and targeting system, as well as twin mounts that can each carry options including 2 Hellfire missiles, the 7seven-shot M260 70mm rocket pod, or gun pods that integrate with its targeting system; plus a communications package.
Iraq later chose the Bell 407, and other manufacturers are entering this market segment after many years of neglect. First flight of the AH-6i came in September 2009, and in May 2010, Jane’s reported that Jordan had signed on as the AH-6i’s launch customer…