New Ballistic Helmets for the Army

SHAH ALAM: New Ballistic Helmets for the Army. At the DSA 2016, among others, the Defence Ministry announced an RM45.9 million contract to Usahawan PSE Sdn Bhd, for the supply of FAST ballistic helmets. As I was overwhelmed with  other things, I was unable to get more details on the contract.

Courtesy of BTDM Online, we now know that the FAST helmets have been issued to the 7 Rejimen Renjer Di Raja (Mek) or 7RRD, the current Ready to Deploy battalion. As mentioned in the post, the unit was supposed to undergo an inspection from the United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Office (UN DPKO) this week.

7 RRD soldiers at the ready during the UN inspection. BTDM

I had asked permission to cover the inspection but was advised that it was not open to the media. So like the last time we are left with what the BTDM Online had posted on its Facebook page.

A close up of the FAST helmets. The black part over the ear is the side armor.

During the pre-inspection two weeks ago, the soldiers wore their berets but for the UNDPKO inspection, they wore their new helmets with complete with the side armour together with the Army digital camo cover and body armor. As the contract stated that the new ballistic helmets are the Future Advanced Shell Technology (FAST) helmets, it is likely that the helmets photographed are the Ops Core Fast XP High Cut Helmet.

FAST XP helmet with side armor. Ops Core.

Apart from being lighter from the traditional US ACH helmets, these FAST helmets are favoured by many special operators as it was designed from the start for a plethora of accessories.

7 RRD soldiers during the UN DPKO inspection

The FAST Helmets have a side-cut configuration that looks to be in-between the MSA MICH TC2001 and TC2002 ‘Gunfighter’ helmets; the sides of the helmet do not cover the ears so there is no interference with communications headsets or hearing protection. The Bump shell is made from lightweight carbon fiber. Injection molded plastic skateboard helmets are intended to provide protection against abrasion and knocks, while absorbing impacts with their internal liners. They are not designed to provide the structural integrity needed to comfortably support and stabilize night vision devices mounted on the front. The carbon fiber shell of the Bump helmet provides this structure, improves the impact dissipation, and helps the inner liner absorb more energy to reduce brain injuries from blunt trauma. The strength of the shell also provides crush resistance despite its very low weight.

The FAST is designed to be compatible with:

COMMs headphones or electronic hearing protection with top headband
Night Vision Devices
Weapon lights
Video cameras
Eye protection and visors
Face protection and shields
O2 masks
CBRN masks
Battery packs

The FAST Helmet system is the first one designed from the ground up that takes all these different factors into consideration, and is designed to work with each of them, separately or in tandem.

The Army previous ballistic helmet. BTDM

I have no idea how many FAST helmets were bought with the RM45.9 million contract but I believed it will only be issued to the Army’s first tier units initially, with other units getting them as hand-me-downs in the near future. Although the new helmets are designed specifically for use with personal headsets – from the photographs we know those are not yet the standard equipment.

A retired soldier posed with a 12th RMR soldier who is part of the FSS Experimental Platoon in this picture taken in May, 2016. 12th RMR has been conducting user trials with the FSS since 2012.

Perhaps in the near future, the soldiers issued with the FAST helmets will be issued with the Army’s Future Soldier System. The helmet looked as if it was designed for the system.

— Malaysian Defence

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