Photos Unknown helicopter/AFV helmet???


Mi Sergeant
MI.Net Member
Apr 22, 2011
Hey all! Was wondering if you guys could help me with a puzzle...I bought a helmet at my local Surplus shop a few weeks ago (mainly because it looked different and old and was fairly cheap) and i'm trying to identify where/when/what it was used for?

It's a very lightweight design, which leads me to suspect it's more likely an aircrew helmet than an AFV crew one. As you can see in the pics below it's old (possible 1960s/1970s issue?) and a bit battered, but still has the electronics and the mic, tho the cables have been cut, probably when it was first decomissioned. The rubber surround has been partially torn off at some point, tho when and why this was done is unknown. The earcups are of differing ages (one probably wore out before the other or was damaged in some way) and connected to the helmet press-studs (one top one bottom). They look to have been covered by some sort of soft, suede-like material, not rubber. Behind the earcups there are two pieces of cylindrical material (folded flat when I bought it) that I belive contained some kind of padding, although in the tests I performed (with varying thicknesses of socks!) it would have been bloody uncomfortable to wear for any length of time-I could barely manage 5 minutes! Putting it on and taking it off becomes quite painful when the earcups have been padded, especially on the right hand (newer) one. There is NO chinstrap, nor any attachments/mounts FOR a chinstrap, so the only way (it seems) to keep it on your head is by the pressure of the earcups on your ears :confused: The head-webbing is all intact and looks to be original, with the straps adjusted by small metal buckles. I belive the forehead pad is the original leather, very soft and comfortable against the skin. Between the forehead pad and the helmet itself is a piece of material that looks to once have been elasticated, tho what purpose it served is unknown. At the rear of the helmet is a flap of rubber that may have aided in donning/removing it, but thats only a guess (you can pull the sides apart to aid in that).

Front view showing electronics box, mic and boom, rear neck strap, earcups with padding behind them.


Left-hand view, showing the shape of the helmet, electronics box, mic, boom and cables (ignore the red tape, I needed a way to keep them secure). You can just see (below the 'leccy box) one end of where the rubber surround was torn off. The markings on the box say "ASTROCOM" and "SA-1552/6"


Inner view (front of helmet to left of picture), showing unknown ex-elasticated loop, forehead strap and leather pad, head-webbing, earcups and their attachment straps and the rear neck strap. You can see the push-to-talk switch on the bottom of the 'leccy box, and where the rubber surround has been removed. Note the lack of chinstrap mounts/attachments!


Right-hand view showing cable retainer and the other end of the remaining rubber surround.


Right-hand earcup with earpiece (assumed original) and 'padding holder' (flattened)


Same view but showing the depth of the padding holder


View towards top of helmet (back of helmet at top of pic) showing earcup attachment straps and padding holders.


Left-hand earcup (the oldest and most comfortable!) showing staining. I doubt the stain at the bottom right of the earcup (actually the top) is blood as that would surely have been disposed of?


Right-hand earcup (the 'newer' and slightly uncomfortable one!)


I'll post the other pics in a sec
Second set of helmet pics

View showing the right-hand earcup, earpiece and padding holder


Another inside view (back of helmet to left of pic) showing close-up head-webbing, rear neck strap and forehead pad. Note the circled number just below the top of where the rear neck strap and the head-webbing meet. I think it's a size mark, either '16' or '18'.


What it looks like on (ignore the muppet (me) wearing it!). laugh; Note the slight tilt due to the weight of the 'leccy box.


Left-hand view


Right-hand view


Any help identifying what this helmet would have been used in/who by/any links to archive pics would be very much appreciated.
I doubt it is US Army, it certainly was not an aviator helmet because there is no visor. US helmets did not need an electrical box because they were connected to a box inside of the vehicle that took care of all that. If it was US there would be the letters "FSN" and then a long number, about 9 digits. If you can find that on either the helmet, removable headband or the electronics box, you can identify it pretty quickly.

Good luck.

Thanks Rotorwash! I'm fairly certain it's one of ours (British) as I can't find any of the markings you mention. There ARE markings on the wires, though those are more likely to be part numbers. And although it's not an Aviator helmet, some of the first jet-pilot helmets look very similar to this one, although they sometimes had attachments for the oxygen mask and no mic/electronics box on the outside. Some, like the early 'P' series helmets didn't have visors, but had goggles instead, worn over the outside of the helmet.

I'd post a link to some pics, but this comp keeps flashing up "VIRUS ALERT!" whenever I try...darn modern technology!gren;
Thats it, DP!!! The exact same one! The only real difference I can see is the name on the electrics box on mine says "ASTROCOM", not "PROANWELL CORP", although the number underneath is exactly the same. And the 'leccy box on mine appears to be metal, not plastic. Thinking of the collectability of Vietnam-era equipment, I probably got it for a bargain as I only paid 35 quid for it! Now i've just got to find some pics of it in use and the model number... Thanks for your help Droney, very much appreciated sal; sal; sal;
Ok, been having a look around and I reckon i've just about got it. It appears to be a Gentex T56-6 (apparently also manufactured by 'Sierra Corp') Combat Vehicle Crewman (CVC) helmet, issued to Tank/APC crew in the early days of the Vietnam war. That explains the lack of a chinstrap-if you have to get out of a tank in a hurry, you don't want to be f'ing aroud with it!

The best description i've found of it is on the Wilson History And Research Center website:
"This combat vehicle crew helmet is classified as the T-56-6. It was the sixth pattern in an experimental helmet series designed by the United States Army in Natick, Massachusetts, during the 1950s but was not entered into service until 1961. In 1973 the T-56-6 was replaced by the DH-132 helmet, but it was still utilized by some Army Reserve or National Guard units throughout the 1970s"

As for the electronics box and the markings there, the majority of helmets i've found have an OG plastic switch-box with the name 'Roanwell' above the number. Now 'Roanwell' are still in buisness supplying comms equipment to the US military and civilians, and so are 'Astrocom'-however the only way (it seems)to find out about the switch-box and number is to contact them via email...and I don't have regular internet access or the time. I think i'll leave it with a bit of mystery, it's more fun that way kilt;
Just a quick update-the rear neck strap has ripped apart. It was already torn halfway through before I got it, but now it's completely gone... Moral of the story? Never let a 3year old play about with your kit! gren;
Glad we sorted that one out mate. (Y)
All your image links are broken mate any chance they will be back up soon?

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