Aviation Specialties Unlimited's fixed-wing helmet concept was among only three full-helmet solutions selected to advance to a prototype phase at the AFWERX Fixed Wing Helmet Challenge on Nov. 15, in Las Vegas.
ASU’s Light Aviation Stable Ergonomic Relaxed-Fit or LASER-Fit helmet concept is a collaborative effort with Paraclete Aviation Life Support. The solution, proposed to improve the current U.S. Air Force fixed-wing helmet, is designed to reduce neck load, improve comfort and stability, reduce neck injury, and seamlessly integrate with current and future technologies and attachments.
“We believe our Airmen deserve the safest and most advanced helmets while on duty. As an agile company with advanced manufacturer and rapid prototyping capabilities, ASU is prepared to deliver the Air Force a helmet solution built on that core value,” said ASU Director of Business Development Chad St. Francis. “Working with industry experts like Paraclete Aviation Life Support and other innovators allows us to tap into the latest technology, methods, and knowledge to develop the most innovative, mission-ready helmet solutions.”
From greater than 100 global submissions, AFWERX selected over 38 teams to showcase their solutions at the November event. Guests included USAF Airmen and Air Force leaders from nearby Nellis and Creech Air Force Bases as well as members of the program management office from the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center. The following day, 16 of the most promising teams, including ASU, were invited for follow-on discussions at the AFWERX Vegas Innovation Hub for individual detailed reviews. Following the event, ASU received notice of their selection for prototype funding and testing to further advance the LASER-Fit helmet solution that could lead to a $20 million or more government contract.
“It’s not only exciting but very impressive what we’ve been able to accomplish over a span of 20 weeks. We have been able to reach many non-traditional defense companies that until now have been unresponsive to traditional market research methods. Now, thanks to AFWERX, we have emerging technologies at our fingertips, ready to integrate into systems for our warfighters. We are executing our leadership's rapid-prototyping direction and “bringing the future faster”,exciting times ahead!” – Lt. Naomi Harper, Program Manager, US Air Force Aircrew Performance Program Office.
ASU representatives will sign the development agreement and meet with Air Force program managers later this month. With design, engineering, manufacturing and test capabilities on site at the ASU headquarters in Boise, Idaho, the team can rapidly take the concept to prototype. Development is scheduled for early in 2019. The LASER – Fit Helmet prototype will be submitted to the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center on or before May 15, 2019, for further assessment.
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About Paraclete Aviation Life Support
Paraclete Aviation Life Support passionately believes that aviation life support equipment saves lives, and this passion colors everything we do. We manufacture, sell, and service the Aegis™ and Aspida™ family of aviation helmets. For additional information visit paracletelifesupport.com.
Since it was first established in 2017 by the Secretary of the Air Force, AFWERX’s core mission has been to improve Air Force capabilities by connecting innovators, simplifying technology transfers, and accelerating results to the warfighter. This most recent event has propelled the collaboration program to new heights.
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