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Review: Galvion PDxT IHS, The Next Gen USMC Helmet


PDxT

Thank you for joining us again for more Night Chenanigans here at VF1 Systems. Last week we took a look at the somewhat obscure ACT In Black DTAMS modular binocular goggle system. Well today you are in for a treat. We take a close look at the Galvion PDxt IHS. This was a review sample submitted to the USMC for consideration as a potentially new helmet for the Marine Corps.


Galvion PDxT IHS


PDxT

Galvion used to be Revision Military however the glasses division and helmet division separated. Galvion produces the helmets now like the Caiman. The PDxT is a sample for the IHS (Integrated Helmet System) program. It is specifically designed to work with the USMC issued SBNVG (Squad Binocular Night Vision Goggle) and ECOTI (Enhanced Clip-On Thermal Imager).

What sets the PDxT seperate from current issued USMC helmets is the integrated wiring and connectors. Galvion runs the power cables under the side rails and they terminate into a proprietary port on the right side of the helmet. See photo below. There is a rubber plug inserted to keep the elements out of the VAS connection.


PDxT

The PDxT comes with two cables. A single power cable to power the SBNVG and a split cable that powers the SBNVG and ECOTI.


There are four pins in the power cables that match up with four contact points in the VAS Connection.



The power cable for the SBNVG is a proprietary plug by Theon Sensors. They manufacture the housing for the SBNVG. The power connector for the ECOTI is also proprietary and it is a 7 pin connector. Below is a photo of similar setups next to the PDxT dual cable.


PDxT
L-R: PVS-31A Fischer power cable w/ ECOTI 7-Pin, SBNVG battery pack with dual cable, PDxT Dual Cable

Normally those battery packs are mounted at the rear of the operator's helmet and the cables are routed around or over the helmet and then plugged into their respective devices. The PDxT integrates the power with a bolt on battery pack.

At the back of the PDxT is a single CR123 battery compartment.


When you remove the helmet cover you can see there is a wire tucked under the battery pack mount and routed underneath the right side rail.

PDxT

PDxT

At the top of he CR123 battery compartment are three contact points and a power connector with a plug.

That port is for the helmet beacon. The power cable is routed through the helmet cover.

The helmet beacon is dual spectrum. It has both low and high modes for VIS white lens and IR LEDs. The beacon has a throw lever to turn these modes on. You have to push the tip of the throw ever forward to turn on VIS mode. This prevents the lever from being bumped and accidentally activating the VIS beacon. the IR beacon can be activated by rotating the activation switch to the right. Low mode fires two LEDs while the high power mode is four LEDs.


The power connection in the CR123 battery pack is the same as the SBNVG battery pack however the CR1`23 PDxT battery pack does not seem to be working. Even with a fresh battery, the beacon does not turn on.


In the PDxT manual it says this battery pack is for day time use. Light NVG use and helmet beacon. For night time use there is an extended night battery pack. The night battery pack simply slides over the day battery pack and clicks into place. You lift that small latch in the middle to unlock the night battery pack and slide It up and off the day battery pack.


The night battery pack has two banks of 3x AA for a total of 6x AA batteries. The shock cords loop over and help to retain the battery pack. At the top of the pack is a button and four indicator LEDs. This tells you the charge status of the night battery pack.


Look at the VAS connection again. See that black rubber button near the rear of the connection point? If you have the SBNVG or compatible night vision goggle plugged in and you press that button, the low battery indicator of the NVG will blink the same number of lights as the battery pack. So a full charge with four LEDs on the pack will cause the NVG indicator to blink four times.




On the left hand side of the PDxT is an integrated Princeton Technology MPLS mount.


PDxT


PDxT

PDxT

You can mount the MPLS Charge Pro on the top side rail but it only works on the left side.

PDxT

If you mount the Charge Pro on the right side, the gooseneck light interferes with the VAS connection.

PDxT

The NVG shroud is a bit unique on the PDxT. It does not look like any other shroud that Galvion has on their other helmets.


PDxT

PDxT

PDxT

The PDxT has bungees and hooks but these were bent out of shape so the spring clasp does not close. They still work for hooking onto the SBNVG and minimizing wobble.


PDxT

Using The Galvion PDxT


PDxT

To my surprise the PDxT is one of the most comfortable helmets I have worn. I am not sure what liner system they have but it does not look like their typical liners.


One issue I found is that due to the proprietary nature of the PDxT, it makes using other night vision somewhat difficult. Like the Argus PNVG-18 needs a Fischer power cable. And due to the design of the PDxT and the helmet cover, there is no room to mount a battery pack at the rear of the helmet. So I have to attach a battery pack to the side velcro of the helmet or cover.


PDxT

At least the shock cord works great for routing cables over the helmet.


PDxT

Weight wise the PDxT only weighs 4 lbs 2.4 oz without the cables or night battery pack. Once you add the cables, night battery pack, Mikron-D (SBNVG stand-in), and ECOSI the total system weight is 6 lbs 5.8 oz.


Final Thoughts On The Galvion PDxT

As of January of this year, Galvion introduced their E.D.G. helmet system. E.D.G. stands for energy data grid. They are taking the PDxT system and plan to mass manufacture it for their other helmets and customers.

Galvion’s E.D.G headborne system has been developed in response to the continuing and escalating power and data needs of the warfighter. Developed over multiple years, the scalable power solution was first introduced on Galvion’s PDxT™ helmet platform to meet the operational needs of the United States Marine Corps as a part of the Marine Corps Systems Command (MCSC) Integrated Helmet System (IHS) Other Transaction Agreement (OTA). Designed through an iterative development cycle, incorporating real-time feedback from USMC trials throughout the process, the E.D.G system represents a critical step in transitioning from a protective ‘helmet’ to an ‘integrated helmet system’ that enhances lethality and survivability.   In response to similar operational needs across multiple global customers and end-users, the E.D.G system will be available for Galvion’s flagship Batlskin Caiman® head system, and when released for full production, the flexible and scalable power system can be retrofitted to a fielded helmet or delivered as a fully assembled helmet system.  

I am lucky to check out this review sample and see where the next gen helmet is going. This is similar to the Ops-Core Rail Link but it is simpler than the Ops-Core. It is basically a cable routing system. Whereas the Rail Link is a powered rail with specific attachments that can be powered from the rail like the prototype Surefire and Princeton Technology helmet lights developed for Rail Link. I hope Galvion continues with this setup. I would like to see a cable with Fischer connectors rather than the Theon Sensor connectors.

Thanks for reading all the way through and state tuned next week for more night vision content.


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