Mk 6 helmet
The Mk 6 helmet was the standard combat helmet of the British Armed Forces as well as another supplied helmet of the UN during peacekeeping operations. The Mk 6 replaced the Mk IV helmet (more correctly titled - Helmet Steel MK IV, General Service) in army service and the RAC helmet in naval service. The jump in MK numbers is thought due to the confusion surrounding the MK IV helmet using the MK V lining, introduced in 1959. The MK 6, introduced into service from 1985, is designed to accept modern ear protection, Bowman personal radios, and respirators. The helmet is manufactured by NP Aerospace, and is reported to have an "almost unlimited service life" by the manufacturer.
The helmet in its default configuration is a dark green. The army use covers to camouflage the helmet and adapt it to different environments. Covers include the British Disruptive Pattern Material in temperate, woodland and desert patterns, multicam pattern, Disruptive Pattern Combat Uniform, a pure white cover for arctic environments and a United Nations blue coloured cover. It is sometimes referred as the "battle bowler", a term first used for the First World War Brodie helmet.
From June 2009 the helmet was replaced by the Mk 7 helmet.
In 2005, the Mk 6 began to be replaced by an evolution of the original design, the Mk 6A helmet. NP Aerospace also manufactures the Mk 6A. Although it looks very similar to the Mk 6, the Mk 6A has enhanced ballistic protection and is marginally heavier than the earlier model. The two variants can be easily distinguished from each other when the cover is removed, as the material of the Mk 6 is olive green whilst the Mk 6A is black.
UN peacekeeping operations
From 1992, the Mk 6 was supplied to the UN alongside the M88, MICH and the M1 to allow for protection of peacekeeping forces. Many military forces used these helmets such as Argentina, Mexico, and most listed UN countries as stated. These were either covered with the respective country's camouflage helmet cover, or issued with a blue Mk 6 cover to indicate it as a peacekeeping helmet.
- Mk 7 helmet - Mk 6 replacement, general issue commenced in June 2009
- Reference to the British army Catalogue of Stores and Ammunition and Ordnance (editions May 1976, June 1984 and Nov 1985) confirms that the last version of the steel GS helmet was titled the MK IV.
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