Title:
Headborne Integration System
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An attachment platform for attachment to a helmet having at least four suspension mounting holes, includes a front section, a left side section, and a right side section. A plurality of primary fasteners are provided for mounting in the four suspension mounting holes of the helmet. The front section of the platform is securable alone to the helmet, by a first two of the primary fasteners extending into a first two of the mounting holes of the helmet. The front section and the side sections of the platform are securable together to the helmet, by the first two of the primary fasteners extending into the first two mounting holes of the helmet and by a second two of the primary fasteners extending into the second two mounting holes of the helmet. A novel mandible and face shield with attachment stems are provided.



Inventors:
Dempsey, Christopher Martin (Tempe, AZ, US)
Harris, Christian J. (Phoenix, AZ, US)
Stalzer, Christopher Michael (Scottsdale, AZ, US)
Schorr, William (Arlington, VA, US)
Application Number:
12/201210
Publication Date:
04/02/2009
Filing Date:
08/29/2008
Assignee:
BAE SYSTEMS AEROSPACE AND DEFENSE GROUP, INC. (Phoenix, AZ, US)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
2/6.6, 2/6.7, 2/422
International Classes:
F41H1/04; A42B1/24
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
KINSAUL, ANNA KATHRYN
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Kane Kessler P.C. (New York, NY, US)
Claims:
1. An attachment platform for attachment to a helmet having at least four suspension mounting holes, the platform comprising: a front section; a left side section; a right side section that is substantially a mirror image of the left side section; and a plurality of primary fasteners for mounting in the four suspension mounting holes of the helmet; the front section of the platform being securable alone to the helmet, by a first two of the primary fasteners extending into a first two of the mounting holes of the helmet; the front section and the side sections of the platform being securable together to the helmet, by the first two of the primary fasteners extending into the first two mounting holes of the helmet and by a second two of the primary fasteners extending into the second two mounting holes of the helmet.

2. Apparatus as set forth in claim 1 wherein the front platform section includes a portion configured for mounting night vision goggles.

3. Apparatus as set forth in claim 2 having a recess within the goggles portion for receiving a name/rank plate.

4. Apparatus as set forth in claim 1 wherein each one of the left and right side platform sections has receptacles for releasably receiving stems of a mandible.

5. Apparatus as set forth in claim 4 further including a mandible having stems for releasable locking connection with the left and right side sections of the platform, the mandible having a rigid frame and having a soft portion of ballistic material for enabling sighting of a long arm with a telescopic sight.

6. Apparatus as set forth in claim 1 wherein each one of the left and right side sections has receptacles for releasably receiving supporting arms of a face shield.

7. Apparatus as set forth in claim 6 wherein each one of the left and right side sections has receptacles for releasably lockably receiving supporting arms of a mandible and a face shield.

8. Apparatus as set forth in claim 1 wherein at least one of the sections releasably supports a picatinny rail.

9. Apparatus as set forth in claim 1 wherein the helmet is an LWH helmet or an ACH/MICH helmet.

10. Apparatus as set forth in claim 1 further including a plurality of nuts press fit in recesses in the platform sections for supporting items on the helmet.

11. Apparatus for attaching a plurality of different items to a helmet, comprising: an attachment platform for supporting the plurality of different items and that can be secured to the helmet by a first plurality of fasteners; a plurality of nuts on the platform; and a second plurality of fasteners extendable through fastener openings in the items into threaded engagement with the nuts, thereby to attach the items to the helmet.

12. Apparatus as set forth in claim 11 wherein the platform has an outer surface and an inner surface, the plurality of nuts on the platform are fitted into recesses formed on the inner surface of the platform, and the platform has through holes extending between the recesses and the platform outer surface for receiving the second plurality of fasteners.

13. Apparatus as set forth in claim 12 wherein the recesses have non-circular shapes that are complementary to the shapes of the nuts thereby to prevent rotation of the nuts in the recesses.

14. Apparatus as set forth in claim 12 wherein the nuts are press fit in the recesses.

15. Apparatus as set forth in claim 11 wherein the nuts are press fit in the platform.

16. Apparatus as set forth in claim 11 wherein the platform is a three piece platform including a front section and separate left and right side sections, and wherein the nuts are press fit in one or more of the platform sections.

17. Apparatus as set forth in claim 11 wherein: the attachment platform is a three piece platform including a front section and separate left and right side sections; the platform has an outer surface and an inner surface, the plurality of nuts on the platform are fitted into recesses formed on the inner surface of one or more sections of the platform, and the platform has through holes extending between the recesses and the platform outer surface for receiving the second plurality of fasteners; the recesses have non-circular shapes that are complementary to the shapes of the nuts thereby to prevent rotation of the nuts in the recesses; and the nuts are press fit in the recesses in the platform.

18. Apparatus comprising a mandible for attachment to a helmet, the mandible comprising: a hard structural frame having a pocket, and a soft ballistic textile panel in a pocket of the frame, the placement of the pocket being selected to allow the sighting of a rifle without inhibiting target acquisition time.

19. Apparatus as set forth in claim 18 further comprising additional structural material separate from the mandible and adapted to be secured in the pocket of the frame to provide additional user protection.

20. Apparatus as set forth in claim 18 further comprising an attachment platform for attaching the mandible to the helmet, the attachment platform having left and right mandible receptacles, the mandible having left and right stems that plug into the left and right mandible receptacles, respectively, of the attachment platform, to releasably lock the mandible onto the platform.

21. Apparatus as set forth in claim 20 wherein the stems and the receptacles cooperate to provide at least two positions of locking engagement of the mandible on the platform.

22. Apparatus as set forth in claim 21 wherein the mandible is releasable from the platform using a one-hand operation.

23. Apparatus as set forth in claim 22 wherein the mandible has a switch for actuating a release mechanism for simultaneously releasing both stems from locking engagement with the receptacles to enable removal of the mandible from the platform.

24. Apparatus as set forth in claim 20 wherein the left and right mandible receptacles are on left and right side sections, respectively, of the attachment platform, at positions selected to be adjacent to a user's ear when the helmet is being worn by a user.

25. Apparatus for supporting a plurality of different user items at different locations on a military helmet having suspension mounting holes, comprising: a platform having at least two fastener openings for receiving primary fasteners for engaging in the suspension mounting holes of the helmet thereby to fasten the platform to the helmet; the platform having at least two spaced apart platform portions adapted to receive and support at least two different user items at spaced apart locations on the platform and on the helmet.

26. Apparatus as set forth in claim 25 wherein a first one of the platform portions is a night vision goggle mounting portion of the platform, and a second one of the platform portions has at least two press fit nuts for supporting a second item, different from the night vision goggles, on the second platform portion.

27. Apparatus as set forth in claim 25 wherein a first one of the platform portions has at least two press fit nuts for supporting a first item on the first platform portion. and a second one of the platform portions has at least two press fit nuts for supporting a second item, different from the first item, on the second platform portion.

28. Apparatus as set forth in claim 25 wherein the platform includes a front section, a left side section, and a right side section that is substantially a mirror image of the left side section, the front section of the platform being securable alone to the helmet, by fasteners engaging in two of the suspension mounting holes of the helmet, and the front section and the side sections of the platform being securable together to the helmet by fasteners engaging in four of the suspension mounting holes of the helmet.

Description:

RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application is a non-provisional application of U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/969,335, filed Aug. 31, 2007, and claims the benefit of said application, and incorporates by reference the entire disclosure of said Application.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Military personnel often need to carry items of equipment on their helmets. Such items may include night vision goggles, headlamps, communications equipment, etc. The helmets typically have a few mounting openings for supporting such items. This arrangement, however, does not lend itself to the user's being able to accommodate a large number of items mounted at different locations on the helmet, and to customize the mounting locations.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

In the accompanying drawings:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a military helmet with which the integration system of the present invention can be used;

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of a front section of one embodiment of an attachment platform that forms part of the integration system of the present invention;

FIG. 3 is a view similar to FIG. 2 showing the front platform section mounted on the helmet of FIG. 1;

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of a side section of the attachment platform;

FIG. 5 is a view similar to FIG. 4 showing the side platform section and an opposite side platform section mounted on the helmet of FIG. 1;

FIG. 6 is a view similar to FIG. 5 showing both side platform sections and the front platform section mounted on the helmet of FIG. 1;

FIG. 7 is a perspective view showing the platform of FIG. 6 supporting a face shield and a picatinny rail that are part of the integration system;

FIG. 8 is another perspective view showing the platform of FIG. 6 supporting a face shield and a mandible that are part of the integration system;

FIGS. 9 and 10 are schematic sectional views showing a press fit nut attachment system that is part of the integration system;

FIG. 11 is a perspective view of a front platform section including a matrix of nuts, part of the press fit nut attachment system of FIGS. 9 and 10;

FIG. 12 is a view illustrating attachment and removal of the face shield from the platform;

FIG. 13 is a view illustrating attachment and removal of the mandible from the platform; and

FIG. 14 is a schematic illustration of one example of a one-handed release mechanism for the mandible.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

The present invention relates to a headborne integration system. The invention is applicable to headborne integration systems of various differing constructions and configurations. As representative of the invention, FIGS. 2-14 illustrate a headborne integration system 10 that is a first embodiment of the invention, including an attachment platform 12 (FIG. 6) illustrated in use with a helmet 13 (FIG. 1). The system 10 also includes other components, such as a face shield 20 and a mandible 22 (FIG. 8), and possibly others. Other systems and platforms in accordance with the invention may include different components or different combinations of components.

The attachment platform 12 (FIG. 6) is a three piece structure that includes a front platform section 14, a left platform section 16, and a right platform section 18. The left and right platform sections 16 and 18, as illustrated, are substantially if not completely mirror images of each other. In other embodiments, that need not be the case.

The platform 12 (FIGS. 2-6) is modular, providing the capability of adding or removing sections depending on mission specific needs. For example, as shown in FIG. 3, the front section 14 can be used alone with the helmet 13. As shown in FIG. 5, the side sections 16 and 18 can be used alone. And, as shown in FIG. 6, all three sections 14-18 can be attached to the helmet 13 at one time. These configurations can all be provided with the use of only a screwdriver, as discussed below.

The three platform sections 14-18 are preferably made from a strong but lightweight plastic, such as polycarbonate or another suitable material. The color of the platform sections is preferably selected to match both the Woodland and the Desert versions of the US Military camouflage helmet covers.

Existing military helmets, such as the LWH helmet and the ACH/MICH helmet, have suspension mounting holes at several locations. The platform 12 is adapted to be mounted on either the LWH or the ACH/MICH helmet, using the suspension mounting holes, as described below.

The LWH helmet is shown in the drawings, and has suspension mounting holes 30, 32, 34 and 36 on the sides, and one or more NVG mounting holes 38 on the front. The ACH/MICH helmet (not shown) is similarly provided with mounting holes at different locations into which a different attachment platform 12 can be secured.

The front platform section 14 (FIG. 2) includes two arms 52 that are disposed at the back and sides of the section. Each arm 52 has a fastener opening 54 which, in the illustrated embodiment, is a through hole in the material of the platform section adapted to receive the shank of a primary mounting screw 40. The end portion 56 of the arm 52, having the fastener opening 54, is offset outwardly from the plane of the arm, adjacent a shoulder 58. This offset allows for an arm of a platform side section 16 or 18 to be introduced between the front section arm 52 and the helmet 13, as illustrated in FIG. 6, when the side section 16 or 18 is used along with the front section 14. Alternatively, if the platform front section 14 is used alone, the offset portion 56 of the arm is pulled down tighter against the helmet 13.

The attachment platform 12 makes use of the existing mounting holes 30-38 on the helmet 13. The two fastener openings 54 in the platform section 14 overlie two of the holes 30 and 32 in the helmet 13. As shown in FIG. 3, fasteners in the form of primary mounting screws 40 are placed through the fastener openings 54 in the platform section 14, and engage in the mounting holes 30 and 32 in the helmet 13. One preferred type of fastener 40 is a ⅝ inch, 10-32 large-bearing-surface screw.

The fasteners 40 could include tamper proof features, if desired. Using the existing helmet holes provides structural support for the platform 12, on the helmet 13, without adding unnecessary weight of other components. As shown in the drawings, the platform 12 mounts directly onto the helmet 13. Alternatively, the platform 12 can be mounted (not shown) over a fabric helmet cover of the type that is often worn directly on the helmet itself.

The front platform section 12 (FIGS. 2 and 3) has a portion 42 defining a pocket or recess 44 for receiving night vision goggles (NVG) 46. This portion 44 includes features specially adapted to receive and support known NVG systems. A fastener opening 47 receives another one of the fasteners 40, into the front helmet mounting hole 38, to help secure the front platform section 14 to the helmet 13. Inside the pocket 44 is a separate recess 46 that is adapted to receive a name/rank plate.

The pocket 44 may incorporate a slot 45 to affix an off the shelf light, or headlamp, if desired. As one example, the pocket 44 may thus be configured to accommodate the popular Petzl Tactikka Plus Adapt headlamp. Different headlamps can be accommodated by using different mounting attachments (plates) fixed to the center section 14 of the platform 12.

Above the NVG pocket 44 is a loop 49. This loop 49 is adapted to receive a strap (not shown) that would extend up and back over the helmet 13, to the rear edge of the helmet. Such a strap can be used for securing other items to the helmet 13.

The front platform section 14 also includes, to either side of the NVG mounting portion 42, a pair of openings 50. These openings 50 can be used to support other items that are appropriate for the front of a helmet, such as a light, etc. The items can be clipped onto or otherwise secured to the helmet platform 12 at these locations 50. Alternatively, separate adapters (not shown) can be provided that are specially configured to fit securely in the openings 50, and that are specially configured to receive and support one or more items. Further, these openings 50 can be left open, thus reducing the weight of the front platform section 14 as compared to a solid front section. Still further, these openings 50 can be closed, leaving a solid area suitable for mounting additional items, for example in the manner described below with reference to FIG. 11.

The left platform section 16, or left side section, which in the illustrated embodiment is a mirror image of the right platform section 18, is shown in detail in FIGS. 4 and 5. The left section 16 has a generally triangular configuration overall, including a top leg 60; a back leg 62 that extends down and forward from the back end of the top leg 60; and a front leg 64 that extends down and rearward from the front end of the top leg 60. Other configurations are possible.

When the side section 16 is mounted on the helmet 13, the top leg 60 of the side section 16 extends along the lower side edge 66 (FIG. 1) of the helmet, over the portion of the helmet that covers the user's ear. The front leg 64 and the back leg 62 extend outward away from the user's ear.

Fastener openings 68 and 70 (FIG. 4) are located at opposite ends of the top leg 60. The fastener openings 68 and 70, in the illustrated embodiment, are through holes adapted to receive fasteners 40. The distance between the fastener openings 68 and 70 is selected to be the same as the distance between the mounting holes 32 and 36 on the left side of the helmet 13. As a result, the left side section 16 is adapted to fit directly onto the helmet 13. Fasteners 40 extend through the fastener openings 68 and 70 into the holes 32 and 36.

The front leg 64 includes two stem receptacles 72 and 74. The upper receptacle 72 is a face shield stem receptacle. The lower receptacle 74 is a mandible stem receptacle. The receptacles 72 and 74 extend generally horizontally, front to back, when the platform side section 16 is mounted on the helmet 13 and the helmet is in use. Each receptacle 72 or 74 preferably includes at least one notch or detent 76 for engaging, as described below, a portion of a stem that is received in the receptacle 72 or 74.

The receptacles 72 and 74 are located adjacent to the user's ear when the helmet 13 is in use. The ears typically are about at the center of gravity of the head. Thus, the weight of the face shield 20 and of the mandible 22 are supported at about the center of gravity of the head, as desirable.

Like the front platform section 14, the side platform section 16 provides an area on the platform 12 for mounting helmet accessories and items. These items can be mounted in many different areas on the side section 16. In this case, one mounting area is located on the top leg 60 of the side section 16. One type of item that can be installed is a universal mounting item such as a picatinny rail 80 (FIG. 5). The picatinny rail 80 is one attachment item capable of holding other items that mount onto such a rail. The rail 80 can be attached to the left platform section 16 as shown, or, alternatively, to the right section 18.

The mounting of the rail 80 to the platform top leg 60 is done with a press fit nut attachment system as illustrated in FIGS. 9 and 10. The system includes a plurality of nuts 84 that are press fit into the material of a section 14, 16 or 18 of a platform 12.

The nuts 84 are preferably located in recesses 86 in the back side or inside surface 88 (facing the helmet) of the platform 12. At each recess 86, a through hole 91 extends between the outer surface 93 of the platform and the recess 86. The through hole 91 enables a headed threaded fastener 95 to extend from outside the platform 12, and screw into the nut 84, through the item and through the platform 12, to clamp an item to the platform 12.

The recesses 86 are preferably complementary in configuration to the nuts 84. For example, the nuts 84 shown in FIGS. 9 and 10 are hexagonal, as are the recesses 86. As a result, when the nuts 84 are press fit in the recesses 86, they are prevented from rotating relative to the platform 12.

Recesses 86 and nuts 84 can be located at various places on the platform 12. They can be located at predetermined places for mounting specific items in those specific places, as with the example of the picatinny rail 80. Alternatively, as shown schematically in FIG. 11, a number of the press fit nuts 84 can be located in a matrix 90 in a platform section, such as the section 14. This allows the user to customize where the user wants to mount an item on the platform 12; the user is not restricted to placing a given item in a given location on the platform section. Still further, the material of the platform can be molded to accommodate user-specific locations of press fit nuts. In one example, one or more parts or areas of the platform can be provided with a plurality or matrix of closed cell locations which the user can pop out to accommodate one of the press fit nuts. In this manner, the user can selectively place an item in a location not specifically provided for during manufacture of the platform.

Other possible items (not shown) that can be supported by this press fit nut attachment system include an annular socket for receiving a lens cap of a night vision goggle, so that, it does not have to dangle from the NVG. Another example is a simple pocket or receptacle to provide a location to clip lights, cameras or other components to the platform 12. A third example is the picatinny rail 80. Almost any item can be supported thus, at any selected location in the platform sections 14, 16 and 18.

The face shield 20 (FIGS. 7, 8 and 12), which is part of the system 10, includes a frame 92 and a lens 94. The frame 92 has a configuration that conforms to the edge of the LWH and ACH/MICH helmets, to prevent water from hitting the wearer's face. The frame 92 also has a portion that prevents water from dripping onto the inside surface of the shield. The frame 92 is large enough to accommodate ESS-brand Interchangeable Component Eyeshield (ICE) 2× spectacles. The frame 92 does not interfere with the sighting of a rifle having a reflex optic.

The face shield 20 may have a 3 mm thick polycarbonate lens 94 to meet the ballistic requirement of MIL-V-4311C, Clause 3.5.10. The face shield 20 weighs 0.3 pounds and is able to withstand the impact of a 17-gram Fragment-Simulating Projectile (FSP) at a speed much greater than the 550-ft/sec requirement. The thickness of the lens 94, and its curvature, do not adversely affect outward vision. The lens 94 is preferably coated with an anti-fogging and scratch-resistant film.

The face shield 20 is releasably attached (locked) to the platform 12. The frame 92 of the face shield 20 includes two rearwardly projecting temples, or stems 96. The stems 96 are configured to releasably, lockingly engage in the face shield receptacles 72 in the side sections 16 and 18 of the platform 12. A simple detent mechanism such as a ball or enlarged portion engagable in a recess is provided between the stems 96 and the receptacles 72. The user plugs the stems 96 into the receptacles 72, and the face shield 20 latches onto the platform 12. To remove the face shield 20, the user pulls outward with sufficient force, and the face shield releases from the platform 12. The retention force can be selected as desired; it need not be the same as the retention force for the mandible 22. Other attachment mechanisms are possible.

The mandible 22 (FIGS. 8 and 13), which is part of the system 10, is a hybrid soft-armor device including a rigid endoskeleton (frame) 100 that is designed to provide both structural (blunt impact) and ballistic protection. The frame 100 has stems 101 for mounting to the platform 12.

The mandible 22 incorporates hybrid soft armor 102 in some locations on the frame 100 to provide ballistic protection while allowing sighting of a rifle without inhibiting target acquisition time. The soft armor 102 is located on the portions of the frame 100 where the soldier can be expected to shoulder a rifle, the user's sighting side. To that end, the frame 100 is open at a pocket 104 on at least that one side, the user's sighting side. The soft armor 102 is releasably (or permanently) mounted in the pocket 104. The presence of the soft armor portion 102 enables sighting of the rifle, while still providing ballistic protection.

If the mandible frame 100 is made symmetrical, there is a similar pocket 104 on the opposite side of the frame. In this pocket 104, the user can insert or attach a supplementary piece of the hard frame material, to close that soft spot and provide additional or full protection.

The mandible 22 is preferably color-matched to the platform 12, and has room inside it to accommodate voice communication devices, fluid replenishment through a hydration pack nozzle, and adequate air circulation for comfort. The illustrated mandible 22 weighs about 0.78 pounds and meets ballistic protection requirements.

The attachment method of the mandible 22 to the platform 12 may be similar to that of the face shield 20. The mandible 22 may have a second detent position, in which the mandible is slid out slightly from the platform side sections 16 and 18, to allow more room for air circulation in a non-combat situation.

The mandible 22 is preferably installed and removed with one hand. Thus, a single switch or release lever or mechanism is provided, operable by one hand, to release the locks on both sides of the mandible 22 that is, between both stems 101 and their respective mandible receptacles 74.

FIG. 14 illustrates schematically one exemplary locking/release mechanism 110 that provides the functions and characteristics needed. (The illustrated mechanism is only one of many that may be suitable; others that provide for one-handed operation, simultaneously releasing both stems 101, may also be used.) At the two ends of the mechanism 110 are the stems 101 of the mandible 22. Each stem 101 includes a ball detent 112 that can either be located radially outward, as shown, or be moved radially inward into a recess in a socket member 114 of the stem.

When the parts are in the position shown, the ball 112 protrudes outward, engaging the detent or notch 76 (FIG. 4) or other structure on the receptacle 74 of the platform side section 16 or 18. If the user pushes on an actuator 114, for example with the thumb, in the direction indicated by the arrow 116, while pressing in an opposite direction 118 with fingers as shown, the actuator 114 rotates two gears 120, that rotate two pulleys 122. The pulleys 122 pull on two cables 124, pulling the socket members 114 to a position in which the balls 112 can move radially inward. Thus, the stems 101 can be released from the receptacles 74 in the platform 12.