Oct. 8 (UPI) -- The Air Force on Thursday announced that it has started delivering a lighter, next generation of ballistic helmets to security forces.
The new helmets replace the Advanced Combat Helmet that Airmen had to modify with bulky additions to accomplish different mission sets, officials said in a statement.
The new helmets are part of a larger effort to "modernize Defender equipment," which includes new handguns, rifles, communication systems and body armor, Master Sgt. Markus Nelson, an Air Force Security Forces Center individual equipment manager, said in a statement.
"Defenders perform a variety of duties around the globe, anything from guarding bases in combat environments to protecting nuclear armament," Nelson said. "In alignment with the Security Forces Enterprise Plan, we had to find a solution to have one standard helmet that would keep all security forces Defenders lethal and ready, no matter the task."
Nelson said the new helmet, which is lighter, cooler and has better padding than previous helmets, also comes with a built-in railing to more easily fit accessories, such as night vision goggles and tactical equipment.
Senior Airman Craig Smith, of the 71st Security Forces Squadron, was among the first unit to receive them.
"It is actually really quick to put on and easily adjustable, allowing me more time to check my Airmen and make sure everyone's gear is on straight," Smith said in a statement. "The biggest improvement I noticed is it's lightweight and if I take a hard turn in a Humvee, I know I'm not going to break my neck."