BAE Systems will tomorrow unveil its next generation Headborne Energy Analysis and Diagnostic System (HEADS) helmet sensor at the Farnborough International Air Show.
This first appearance follows a recent US $17 million award from the US Army for BAE Systems’ HEADS Generation II sensor, which is designed to better monitor soldiers and assist in the identification and diagnosis of combat-related traumatic brain injuries.
The sensor itself is small, lightweight and can be secured inside virtually any combat helmet, BAE says in a statement. Although imperceptible to the wearer, it is designed to continuously collect data, including impact direction, magnitude, duration, blast pressures, angular and linear accelerations as well as the exact times of single or multiple blast events. That information is then stored until it can be quickly downloaded and analyzed by medical teams using a simple USB or wireless connection.
The HEADS sensor is said to be unobtrusive and will not interfere with additional helmet-mounted equipment soldiers may need, such as goggles and other sensors.
BAE Systems introduced its first HEADS sensor to the military in 2008. Since then, nearly 7 000 of the company’s HEADS units have been fielded to the US Army and US Marine Corps. With the new order, the company’s Generation II HEADS helmet sensors will be produced and fitted inside the combat helmets for US troops serving abroad.
“Diagnosing mild to moderate combat-related Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs) can be challenging” says Joe Coltman, vice president of BAE Systems’ Personnel Protection Systems. “For example, following an explosion from a roadside bomb, soldiers will sometimes continue with their mission, unaware that the concussion from the blast may have lingering effects, With the Generation II HEADS sensor, even if the injury isn’t obvious, the sensor is equipped with a programmable colour LED light that can be set to activate during a blast event, providing immediate notification of a possible combat-related TBI which should be checked out by medical personnel.
The HEADS smart sensor is also designed to provide medical professionals with data that may help determine the severity of a possible TBI, added Coltman “With our Generation II HEADS sensor, we’re providing medical teams with a valuable diagnostic tool that utilizes radio frequency technology, with our new ‘smarter’ sensor, if a soldier is exposed to a blast, possibly sustaining a concussion and the soldier enters a specified area, such as forward operating base or dining facility, a series of strategically placed antennae will scan all available HEADS units and send data to a computer, identifying any soldiers who may have sustained a blast-related brain injury,”
Deliveries on the initial Generation II HEADS order are expected to begin in April next year, and be completed by July.