Personnel Armor System for Ground Troops
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Personnel Armor System for Ground Troops (PASGT; pronounced pass-GET), is a combat helmet and ballistic vest that was used by the United States military from the early-1980s until the mid-2000s, when the helmet and vest were succeeded by the Lightweight Helmet, Modular Integrated Communications Helmet, and Interceptor body armor.
PASGT is an acronym, standing for Personnel Armor System for Ground Troops. When used by itself, PASGT refers to both the vest and helmet together.
In the U.S. military, the PASGT helmet was most commonly known by its wearers as simply the "Kevlar". The nickname has since been adopted for usage with other helmets. The PASGT helmet was also referred to by its wearers in the U.S. military as the "K-pot", similar in name to the colloquial nickname "steel pot" for the steel M1 helmet, which was in widespread U.S. military usage from the 1940s, to the 1970s, including the Vietnam War. The PASGT helmet was also, but less commonly, known by its wearers as the "Fritz" helmet for its resemblance to the Stahlhelm, which was the standard helmet used by the German military forces in the First and Second World Wars.
On the other hand, the PASGT vest was colloquially known as the "flak vest" by its wearers in the U.S. military.
The Personnel Armor System for Ground Troops Helmet is a combat helmet first employed by the U.S. military in 1985 and eventually adopted by many other military and law enforcement agencies internationally. The shell is made from 19 layers of Kevlar, a ballistic aramid fabric treated with a phenolic resin system and is rated at a Threat Level IIIA as per DARPA, USMC, and U.S. Army and offers protection against shrapnel and ballistic threats. It meets the 1800 requirement of MIL-STD-662 E. It weighs from 3.1 lb (1,410 g) (size extra small) to 4.2 lb (1,910 g) (extra large).
The PASGT helmet is typically olive drab in color and can be fitted with cloth helmet covers, which come in a wide array of varying camouflage patterns, including, but not limited to, Woodland, six-color desert, three-color desert, and winter/snow white, solid black, for tactical police applications, as well as the U.S. Marine Corps's MARPAT and the U.S. Army's Universal Camouflage Pattern.
The PASGT helmet is also used by various SWAT teams, where it is often black in color, with or without covering. It is also used by United Nations Peacekeeping forces where it is often painted United Nations blue to match the colors of the United Nations flag.
When worn with a helmet cover, the PASGT helmet is also often fitted with a band around it that has two light recharging glow patches (sometimes known as cat eyes) on the rear intended to reduce friendly fire incidents. These bands are also used to hold vegetation or small personal items, as with the M1 helmet before it, during the later decades of its service life. These bands can also have names and/or ABO blood types printed on them to help identify the blood type the wearer in case a blood transfusion is required as a result of blood loss due to wounds received on the battlefield. In the U.S. Army, PASGT helmets often featured a patch with the wearer's rank insignia on it stitched onto the front, and/or a second patch showing the symbol of the wearer's unit on the sides.
The PASGT helmet was developed after the Vietnam War in 1975 and replaced the steel M1 helmet in U.S. military service during the 1980s. It first saw use in combat in 1983 during Operation Urgent Fury in Grenada, and became standard issue for the U.S. military in 1985, and completely replaced the M1 helmet for frontline troops by the end of the decade. Soldiers stationed in Alaska were some of the last to receive the helmets, some not getting the PASGT until 1988.
There are various available add-on accessories for the PASGT helmet, including:-
- A helmet mount assembly to attach night vision goggles, such as the NE-6015 or AN/PVS-14 MNVD, the F5001B or AN/PVS-7B.
- A riot control visor.
The PASGT helmet was replaced in U.S. military service by the Lightweight Helmet for the U.S. Marine Corps and the Modular Integrated Communications Helmet by the U.S. Army, which was in turn replaced by the Advanced Combat Helmet, which the U.S. Army currently uses.
Both the U.S. Marine Corps and the U.S. Army are looking at yet another helmet replacement for their PASGT helmet successors: the Enhanced Combat Helmet (ECH) with distribution to start in 2014.
However, the PASGT system is still used by some U.S. allies and still sees some continued limited use in the U.S. military as of the mid-2010s, where it serves as one of various helmets and vests for sailors assigned to duty on board U.S. Navy vessels.
Usage by civilians
The PASGT helmet and its many derivative variants have become popular with civilian news media reporters and journalists reporting from war zones across the world, who will often wear them, should the situation warrant the usage of a helmet. Additionally, private militias also use them from time to time.
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The vest of Personnel Armor System for Ground Troops was the United States military's standard upper torso body armor from the mid-1980s up until the early 2000s (decade), when it was replaced by the Outer Tactical Vest of the Interceptor Body Armor system. The PASGT vest replaced the M-69 Fragmentation Protective Body Armor nylon vest that was used during the Vietnam War, which in turn replaced the M-1952A Fragmentation Protective Body Armor that was used during the Korean War.
The PASGT vest utilized Kevlar for the first time in the United States military's body armor, unlike the ballistic nylon that was used in the models of body armor that preceded it. While generally incapable of stopping rifle bullets, the PASGT vest provided better protection against shrapnel and reduced the severity of injuries from small arms fire when compared to the M-69. Despite its ability to stop pistol rounds, including 9×19mm Parabellum FMJ, the vest was only ever designed or intended to stop small fragments without injury to the user. The PASGT Vest weighed approximately 9 lb (4,080 g), a small increase over the previous model.
Accessories and usage
In order to provide protection against high velocity bullets, the PASGT vest was, in 1996, combined with the Interim Small Arms Protective Overvest (ISAPO) pending the adoption of Interceptor body armor. The ISAPO weighed about 16.5 lb (7,480 g) and consisted of a carrier to hold two protective ceramic plate inserts. A PASGT armor system with overvest weighed more than 25 lb (11,340 g) and was criticized by many U.S. troops as unacceptably cumbersome in combat. The ballistic fill consists of 13 plies of 14 oz. water repellent treated Aramid (Kevlar 29) fabric. The inner and outer cover, shoulder pads and front closure flap of the vest are water repellent treated 8 oz. ballistic nylon cloth.
While phased out as frontline body armor by the start of the Iraq War in 2003, it saw some limited wear and usage by United States military personnel during the early stages of the war, where some U.S. Army soldiers would utilize old PASGT vests as makeshift armor as protection for their vehicles in the absence of purpose-made, designated up-armor kits.
The PASGT vest was succeeded in U.S. military service by the Outer Tactical Vest of the Interceptor Body Armor system, which was, in turn, partly replaced by the Modular Tactical Vest, Improved Outer Tactical Vest, and Scalable Plate Carrier. However, the PASGT vest still sees some limited use in the U.S. military as of the mid-2010s, where it serves as one of many vests for sailors assigned to duty on board U.S. Navy vessels.
- Afghanistan: Afghan National Army
- Argentina: Argentine Army and Argentine Marine Corps
- Australia: Australian Army
- Belgium: Belgian Land Component
- Bolivia: Bolivian Army
- Brazil: Brazilian Army and Brazilian Marine Corps
- Canada: Canadian Forces Primary Reserve
- Colombia: Colombian National Army and Colombian Marine Corps
- Egypt: Egyptian Army
- Estonia: Estonian Defence Forces
- Georgia: Georgian Army
- Greece: Hellenic Army
- Honduras: Honduran Army
- Indonesia: Indonesian Army
- India: Indian Armed Forces
- Iraq: Iraqi Army (surplus PASGT vests and helmets were given to the Iraqi Army by the United States, after the Iraqi military was re-formed during the early stages of the Iraq War.)
- Italy: Italian Army (the amphibious Reggimento Lagunari used the helmet throughout the '90s until the beginning of Italian involvement in Afghanistan when it was fully replaced by the SEPT2 and 4)
- Malaysia: Malaysian Army (to be discharged)
- Mexico: Mexican Army
- Moldova: Moldovan Army
- New Zealand: New Zealand Army
- Paraguay: Paraguayan Army
- Peru: Peruvian Army
- Philippines: Philippine Army and Philippine Marine Corps
- Portugal: Portuguese Army
- Romania: Romanian Armed Forces
- Cambodia: Royal Cambodian Army
- Thailand: Royal Thai Army
- Saudi Arabia: Saudi Arabian Army
- Serbia: Serbian Army
- Singapore: Singapore Army (to be discontinued)
- Sri Lanka: Sri Lanka Army
- Taiwan (Republic of China): Republic of China Marine Corps
- United States: United States Navy
- Venezuela: Venezuelan Army
- Trinidad and Tobago: Trinidad and Tobago Defense Force
- Turkey: Turkish Armed Forces standard issue alongside MICH helmets.
- Ukraine: Ukrainian Ground Forces (hundreds of decommissioned American combat helmets were bought by Ukraine in 2014 for the purpose of better protecting its soldiers against threats in the region)
Civilian law enforcement
- Argentine GEOF Policia Federal Argentina Special Operations Group
- Argentine Grupo Halcón
- Argentine Special Operations Group
- Argentine National Gendarmerie
- Australian Tactical Assault Groups
- Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives
- Colombian National Police
- Drug Enforcement Administration Foreign-deployed Advisory and Support Teams
- Mexican Federal Police
- Greek Police EKAM
- Los Angeles Police Department Special Weapons and Tactics
- New York City Police Department Emergency Service Unit
- Oklahoma City Police Department Special Weapons and Tactics
- Philippine National Police
- Peruvian National Police DIROES
- Peruvian National Police SUAT
- Peruvian National Police EDEX
- Pasukan Gerakan Khas
- Trup Tindakan Cepat
- Royal Canadian Mounted Police Emergency Response Team
- State Protection Group
- Specialist Response and Security
- Special Tasks and Rescue
- Malaysian Special Task And Rescue
- United States Mint Police
PASGT helmet variants and derivatives
|CABAL II||Argentina||Argentine PASGT derived helmet.|
|Capacete Combate Ballistico||Brazil||Brazilian PASGT derived helmet.|
|GOLFO||Chile||Chilean PASGT-derived helmet. The helmet is locally made by Baselli Hermanos S.A of kevlar and was introduced in 2000. It is capable of stopping a 9×19mm round at 310m.|
|Gefechtshelm Schuberth B826 helmet||Germany||German military helmet, used primarily by the German Bundeswehr, Swiss Army, Dutch Army, and the Estonian Defence Forces.|
|SPECTRA helmet||France||French military helmet, used primarily by the Danish Army, French Army and the Canadian military.|
|JK 96a light Light Steel Helmet||China||Chinese military light steel helmet. PASGT-derivative replica helmet, made of light steel and not Kevlar. Used primarily by the People's Liberation Army of the People's Republic of China.|
|JK 96b Light Steel Helmet||China||Chinese military light steel helmet. PASGT-derivative replica helmet, made of light steel and not Kevlar. Used primarily by the People's Liberation Army of the People's Republic of China.|
|NDH 2001 helmet||China||Chinese helmet, produced by the China North Industries Corporation. Norinco produces two types of these PASGT-derivative replica helmets, designed towards civilian police usage.|
|NDH 2006 helmet||China||Chinese helmet, produced by the China North Industries Corporation. Norinco produces two types of these PASGT-derivative replica helmets, designed towards civilian police usage.|
|OE Tech Tactical helmet||China||Replica helmet only.|
|M97 Helmet||Serbia||Serbian PASGT derived helmet.|
|C-1 Kevlar helmet||Singapore||Used primarily by the Singaporean Armed Forces.|
|Type 88 helmet||Japan||Japanese military helmet, used by the Japanese Self-Defense Forces and the Japanese Coast Guard.|
|M87 Kevlar helmet||South Africa||South African helmet issued to the SADF. Made by South African Pith Helmet Industries.|
|Kevlar VestGuard helmet||United Kingdom||The British VestGuard helmet comes in two different variants, the M88 version, and the Kevlar version. Also made by LBA International Ltd.|
|M88 VestGuard helmet||United Kingdom||The British VestGuard helmet comes in two different variants, the M88 version, and the Kevlar version. Also made by LBA International Ltd.|
|M91 helmet||Australia||PASGT style helmet made by RBR Armour Systems Pty Ltd. In service with all branches of Australian Defence Force from 1991-2004. Identical to USA PASGT helmet with the exception of having a 3-point chin strap, much like the German B826 Gefechsthelm.|
|Advanced Combat Helmet||United States||Used primarily by the United States Army and United States Air Force, although it sees widespread usage throughout the U.S. military and is widely used among civilian law enforcement throughout the United States. The ACH helmet is based upon the design of the Modular Integrated Communications Helmet, offering increased ballistic protection over the MICH helmet on which it is based. The ACH helmet has replaced the PASGT helmet in United States Army usage, and is the successor to the MICH helmet.|
|Lightweight Helmet||United States||Used primarily by the United States Marine Corps and the United States Navy. Abbreviated to LWH, the Lightweight Helmet is heavily based upon the PASGT helmet design, being nearly identical in appearance, however it offers increased ballistic protection and wearer comfort over the preceding PASGT helmet. The Lightweight Helmet has replaced the PASGT helmet in United States Marine Corps and United States Navy service.|
|Modular Integrated Communications Helmet||United States||Used primarily by the United States Army and United States Air Force, although it sees widespread usage throughout the U.S. military and is widely used among civilian law enforcement throughout the United States. The Modular Integrated Communications Helmet is the predecessor to the Advanced Combat Helmet, which is an improved design, based upon the design of the MICH helmet.|
- Personal armor, the whole of protecting clothing, designed to absorb and/or deflect slashing, bludgeoning, and penetrating attacks.
- Kevlar, a para-aramid synthetic fiber that was developed at DuPont in 1965.
- Interceptor body armor, the body armor that succeeded the PASGT vest in U.S. military service.
- Borit-M 6B7, the new Kevlar helmets used by Russian Ground Forces with similar styling as PASGT.
- fas.org - PASGT Vest
- Olive-Drab.com - PASGT Vest
- Globalsecurity.org - Personnel Armor System for Ground Troops Helmet
- Olive-Drab.com - Personnel Armor System Ground Troops (PASGT) Kevlar Helmet
- PASGT helmet
- MICH helmet
- PASGT Helmet Operator's Manual
- PASGT Helmet Use and Care Manual
- The Box o' Truth tests the PASGT helmet against common rounds