US Army could soon be wearing Master Chief helmets with built-in air con
The US Army is developing a next-generation helmet and mask combination respirator system that could replace existing gear issued for protection against chemical, biological, radioactive and nuclear warfare.
It is lighter than the kit used currently, has its own interior air conditioning to keep a soldier cool around the face in hot and humid climates, and it looks like it's come straight out of Halo.
In testing at the moment, the mask has a mini blower that pulls air through a filtration system on its side. This air sweeps across the nose cup to flow evenly across the soldier's face. An air valve also ensures that only clean, filtered air can get into the helmet and mask unit.
The only issue at present is that it requires power and is therefore battery operated. This means it will only work for a finite amount of time. Engineers at the Edgewood Chemical Biological Center are continuing to dabble with multiple technologies though, and anticipate a mask that is able to sense when the fan is required based on physiological monitoring. This will restrict how much power it will drain and should therefore last a lot longer in the field.
Couple the helmet and mask with the TALOS military exoskeleton currently being trialled in the US and you really will have Master Chief like soldiers in the near future.