The Singapore Army on 2 December launched a new set of personal equipment comprising a new lightweight and modular ballistic helmet and tactical load-bearing system (LBS) designed to boost soldier performance with enhanced ergonomics and heat dissipation. The new ballistic helmet is replacing the incumbent set, which is essentially a localised derivative of the Personnel Armor System for Ground Troops (PASGT) helmet developed in the United States from the 1980s. Various agencies such as Headquarters Infantry, Centre of Excellence for Soldier Performance (CESP), Headquarters Supply, the Defence Science and Technology Agency, DSO National Laboratories and ST Logistics worked together in the evaluation process of the enhanced PE, from the crafting of technical specifications to ensuring that the quality of the final products fulfil the Army’s operational requirements.
The high-cut design allows better integration with other soldier equipment, such as ear mufflers, communication headsets and night vision devices for soldiers to operate comfortably and effectively. Full-time National Servicemen (NSFs) who were enlisted since October 2019 have been issued with the helmet. The key features of the helmet are as follows:
a. Adjustable Padding System. The helmet has an adjustable padding system that allows soldiers to ensure the helmet fits comfortably and provides them with ballistic protection.
b. Lighter Helmet. The helmet weighs approximately 10% lighter compared to the previous in-service helmet, enabling soldiers to sustain longer and improve their overall combat performance.
The CESP applied Human Factors Engineering (HFE) during the evaluation of the LBS to identify areas to improve the mobility of soldiers and reduce stress points induced by equipment to maximise our soldiers’ combat effectiveness. During the evaluation, human factors engineers conducted thermal analysis to determine the amount of heat accumulated in the LBS while soldiers manoeuvred various obstacles. By collecting and analysing anthropometric data from the SAF population, the engineers could improve the ergonomic design of the LBS to better suit the Singapore soldier. The key features of the LBS are as follows:
a. Two Variants. The LBS has two variants – a Standard and Enhanced variant. Soldiers will be equipped with different components of the LBS depending on their training requirements and mission profiles, thus allowing them to train effectively and sustain longer in combat.
b. Enhanced Heat Dissipation. The LBS is made up of a strong yet lightweight material which provides soldiers with better comfort and improved heat dissipation by 30%.
c. Improved Weight Distribution. As part of the LBS design, the LBS consists of various detachable components which allows soldiers to customise their LBS to meet different operational and training requirements, while ensuring even weight distribution for soldiers. The belt component can be customised to size and worn on the hips, thus reducing strain on a soldier’s shoulders. Both the Standard and Enhanced vests come in different sizes and feature multiple adjustable points for soldiers to ensure the vest fits snugly, allowing them to perform their combat tasks more effectively and over longer durations.
d. Modular BAC. The modular BAC can be worn beneath the LBS(Enhanced) to provide soldiers with protective armour against ballistic threats. Soldiers can detach the BAC depending on their operational requirements to reduce thermal stress during training and operations.