By Spc. David Hodge
4th Infantry Division public affairs
Soldiers of the 1st Brigade Combat Team will be among the 4th Infantry Division’s first to receive the Head-born Energy Analysis and Diagnostic System sensor and begin fielding the new technology while deployed to Baghdad.
The sensor, mounted inside the Army’s Advanced Combat Helmet (ACH), will be worn by brigade soldiers throughout their 15-month deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
The technology surrounding the ballistic helmet is continually improved to lessen the trauma caused by cranial impacts that soldiers face while operating on today’s battlefield, said Lt. Col. Rick Caya, the brigade’s executive officer.
“The sensors help improve treatment of head injuries and development of next-generation combat helmets,” Caya said.
The latest addition to the combat helmet will contribute to lessening the impact on soldiers in the future, he added.
“The sensors provide the ability to help the U.S. Army improve a soldier’s individual equipment system,” Caya said.
“It’s a great opportunity to provide downrange feedback for the U.S. Army,” he said.
Although the sensors are not going to directly affect the brigade’s soldiers during the deployment, the sensors will benefit future units by aiding researchers in developing better equipment and technology to assist soldiers in combat, Caya said.
“If the Raider Brigade can help in that advancement process in any way, that would be great for soldiers,” he said.
The six-ounce sensor is a small, undetectable piece of microchip technology surrounded by thin plastic composite that records traumatic disturbances to the helmet, Caya said.
The sensor fits neatly under the crown pad of the combat helmets and contains a three-axis accelerometer and pressure sensor that detects sudden movements and percussion.
“We asked ourselves, ‘How can we make a better helmet to save the soldier?’” said Steve Motoyama, the program manager for the company that designed the sensors.
“The HEADS sensors will provide a good opportunity to make future helmets safer,” he added.
The brigade is one of the first units in the U.S. Army to field the electronic technology in Iraq.