Officials seek immediate inspection of helmets
WASHINGTON — Air Force officials here directed an immediate service-wide inspection, recall and reporting of defective advanced combat helmets.
Logistics officials said evidence indicates some helmets were produced using unauthorized manufacturing practices, defective materials and improper quality procedures that could potentially reduce ballistic and fragmentation protection.
“When it comes to the safety and protection of our airmen, we act swiftly and we take no chances,” said Col. Steven Morani, the Air Force Directorate of Logistics materiel support division chief. “The importance of the recall warrants not only immediate action, but ongoing follow-up as we complete a one-for-one exchange of defective helmets.”
Morani said major commands must complete a 100-percent inspection of advanced combat helmets, manufactured by Rabintex and Armorsource, and identified by a designated Army procured contract number. In cases in which the contract number can’t be determined, units are using specific visual inspection criteria to ascertain whether or not the helmet is affected by the recall.
The colonel emphasized that deployed and pre-deployment airmen are the first priority for the exchange that will occur from stock in theater. As more helmets are made available, the remainder of airmen also will make the exchange.
“Any affected helmets that units discover will be immediately removed from service and if shortfalls occur, we’ll work diligently with Defense Supply Center Philadelphia, the Air Force’s source of supply, to close the gaps,” Morani said.
The exchange timeline is contingent upon the swiftness of the mandated inspections, the colonel said.
“Inspections are underway right now,” Morani said. “Once we know the total number of helmets affected, we can better estimate a completion timeline.”