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SPH-4 helicopter helmet ? Vietnam era ?


Squale69
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Squale69

Hello,

 

Could someone confirm this is a SPH-4 Helicopter helmet used during Vietnam war ?

No label in or out the helmet...

Gentex or Sierra manufacturer ?

 

Thanks for the feedbacks.

P.A

 

SPH-4_Helm1.jpg

SPH-4_Helm6.jpg

SPH-4_Helm2.jpg

SPH-4_Helm3.jpg

SPH-4_Helm4.jpg

SPH-4_Helm5.jpg

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PMAN12094
8 minutes ago, Squale69 said:

Hello,

 

Could someone confirm this is a SPH-4 Helicopter helmet used during Vietnam war ?

No label in or out the helmet...

Gentex or Sierra manufacturer ?

 

Thanks for the feedbacks.

P.A

 

SPH-4_Helm1.jpg

SPH-4_Helm6.jpg

SPH-4_Helm2.jpg

SPH-4_Helm3.jpg

SPH-4_Helm4.jpg

SPH-4_Helm5.jpg

im thinking it could be an hgu39/p but im not a flight helmet expert 

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PMAN12094

i did a little more digging around it seams to be an sp4 gentex made that mic on it is stumping me 

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majormadmax

I've seen that mic on SPH-4s before, but not sure if they're Vietnam era.  If they were, it was late in the war.

As for the HGU-39/P, it essentially is the same as a SPH-4 but without a visor cover or the holes for one drilled out.  The HGU-39/P is designed to be worn with the MBU-13/P bio-chemical mask. Since the mask already has a visor and there is a plastic tinted visor that attaches to the mask, the helmet mounted visors aren't needed.  USAF Life Support did field modify some HGU-39/Ps with either a single or dual visor for use in helicopters...

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Squale69

Thank you both for the feedbacks !

 

I'm not sure the IMA-USA one is a SPH-4... doesn't have the same shape as mine. Looks more like APH-5 ?

but the Mic is the same 😉

 

By the way I will need to find a chinstrap to complete...

 

P.A

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mohawkALSE

That IMA one is a APH-5, which is what that M-33 mic is from.  The OPs helmet is a SPH-4, could be Vietnam era from 1969 or post up to 1977 or so with that ear cup retention harness having leather tabs and 4 snap studs per side.  The ear seals on the cups are wrong, and the M-33 mic is wrong.  SPH-4s had the M-87 mics on them from their original 1969 contract.  The visor lock knob is also wrong.  If it had its original boom mic you can date it more but without that and the label is missing its only a range of 1969-1977.  Does seem to have the older visor housing so could be a 69-71 time frame helmet if its original to it.

 

HGU-39s have a different headset assembly to them (CX-4708/AIC) which dont have a wired in drop lead ICS cord like an SPH-4 or most helo helmets.  They are designed for mask use plugging into the headset or using a removable ICS branched cable assembly.

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PMAN12094
7 hours ago, majormadmax said:

I've seen that mic on SPH-4s before, but not sure if they're Vietnam era.  If they were, it was late in the war.

As for the HGU-39/P, it essentially is the same as a SPH-4 but without a visor cover or the holes for one drilled out.  The HGU-39/P is designed to be worn with the MBU-13/P bio-chemical mask. Since the mask already has a visor and there is a plastic tinted visor that attaches to the mask, the helmet mounted visors aren't needed.  USAF Life Support did field modify some HGU-39/Ps with either a single or dual visor for use in helicopters...

I believe the hgu-39/p’s were painted white instead of od green

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mohawkALSE
1 hour ago, PMAN12094 said:

I believe the hgu-39/p’s were painted white instead of od green

Yes,  sometimes the AF painted them OD or taped them with the camo tape you see on HGU-26s as well.   They were also used as a platform for the PVS-5 NVGs as well with adding a visor housing and other hardware.

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Squale69

Hello.

 

As I understand there is no way to find a M-33 Mic on a SPH-4 helmet during Vietnam era ? It was only mounted on APH-5 helmets ?

Or was it possible at the end of the war ?

 

Could you please remind me the different types of helicopter helmets in service during Vietnam era ?

 

Thank you. P.A

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AMT500E

Actually, no reason why the M33 AIC ("banana mic", sometimes called) would not interface with the SPH wire harness, but the pairing of SPH and M33 was at least very rare and if done 'over there' would have been done so out of necessity and not as a direct replacement for the grey M87

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mohawkALSE
2 hours ago, Squale69 said:

Hello.

 

As I understand there is no way to find a M-33 Mic on a SPH-4 helmet during Vietnam era ? It was only mounted on APH-5 helmets ?

Or was it possible at the end of the war ?

 

Could you please remind me the different types of helicopter helmets in service during Vietnam era ?

 

Thank you. P.A

If it was ever done as a replacement in the field it would have been earlier ie 1969 time frame when the SPH-4 first came out.  I cant think of any actual pics from the War actually showing a SPH-4 with a M-33, only have seen some for sale in recent years that I feel were put together.   From the factory though they never had the M-33 mic.  They were used on the APH-5 helmets and also sometimes USAF HGU-2 helmets as well as some pilot headsets in the 1960s.  By about that 1969-1970 time frame the M-33 mics were on the way out.  The AFH-1 helmet came with the same style boom and grey M-87 mic the first contract SPH-4s had.  I say first contract due to the 1971 contract SPH-4 helmets had a new design boom for the mic that had an adjustable ball joint between the 1st and 2nd sections of the boom.  That style boom stayed the same on the SPH-4 til this day.  My father had an APH-5 in flight school 1968 and then had it into Vietnam til about Dec 1969 when he was issued a new SPH-4.  When he left country he had to leave the SPH-4 there.  When my father returned CONUS in mid 1970 and was stationed at Ft Eustis, VA  he got an APH-5 helmet again since all the SPH-4s were going straight to Vietnam, they actually removed the M-33 mic off his APH-5 and installed the newer AFH-1/SPH-4 style boom with the grey M-87 mic.  Id imagine they phased out the supply of M-33s and wanted to have the M-87 standardized at that point.

 

Helicopter helmet wise for the US Army there was a number of versions of the APH-5 helmet.  

First ones in the early 60s were a "Pea Green" color with a rough texture to the paint.  Then a little later in the early to mid 60s there was white colored helmets which had metal visor stops at the bottom of the tracks.  All of these earlier APH helmets could also have leather O2 mask snap tabs installed if for fixed wing use in the OV-1 Mohawk. 

Then around 1966 they had white APH-5s in the last style that deleted the use of those metal stops.  I think 1967 was the first year to be the final OD green color of basically the same style the 1966 helmets were.  When the helmets went to the OD color they also commonly painted some of the older white helmets.  In the Mid to late 60s they also introduced the AFH-1 helmet which was known as the crash ballistic helmet.  Then in 1969 the SPH-4 was introduced.

 

Others would have to chime in on USAF, US Navy and USMC helo helmet use.

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Vark_07

Nice one, I like the patina very much, seems like this shell had a rough time !

 

I concur on everything that was said : this looks like an early SPH-4 shell (with a visor housing identical to the single visor SPH-3s that were issued a little earlier, and leather tabs chinstrap retention on the liner). However, wrong visor, lock knob and ear seals for a US Army VN (or post) era as it's been pointed out.

 

The "banana" M-33/AIC pairing, even if technically possible, was -to my knowledge- very uncommon with SPH-4s in US Army (especially in Country), for these shells were issued with the M-87/AIC as Mohawk stated, so it looks odd on the example you've shown, along with the others incoherences we picked.

Consequently, this mic setup seems unlikely for an SPH-4, and is not as iconic for displaying as a M-87 setup anyway 😉.

You have to know that the M-33 mic predates the M-87, so there's no mystery it was mostly used with APH-5As (like the one from IMA that was wrongly called SPH-4), sometimes seen on AFH-1s (balistic APH-5A variant that was issued with the new M-87) in the transitional period before the SPH-4 introduction, and extremely rare on SPH-4s as we've seen before.

 

My opinion is that it is indeed an early SPH-4 shell from the VN / close post-VN era, with missing elements that were added later (with some mistakes) for display purpose.

But who knows, it might also be a legit rig from another country's rotary wing setup ?

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Squale69

Wow lot’s of information in short Time !

Thank you guys 👍🏻Much appreciated !

 

I’ve got a APH-5 (Sierra / 1963) coming soon... looked nice on photos... hope it to be nice for real 😉.

 

P.A

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  • 3 weeks later...
Squale69

Hello,

 

Here is the APH-5 I talked about !

I think it is quite complete... anyway looks nice beside the other helmets 😉

 

P.A

APH5_1.jpg

APH5_2.jpg

APH5_3.jpg

APH5_4.jpg

APH5_5.jpg

APH5_6.jpg

APH5_7.jpg

APH5_8.jpg

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Vark_07

Nice early sierra APH-5(A), contract dated 1963 indeed, one of the whites examples painted OD Mohawk talked about.

White USN knob, worn OD layer revealing white paint underneath, and spraying residues in the inside are obvious giveaways.

 

It's basically the same shell as US Navy iconic fixed wing golden APH-5s (3-part styrene liner with sizing pads, central metal visor track / visor stops, and beading on the visor's edge), fitted with specific US Army audio equipment. Talking of which, the audio checks in (actually the same as my 1967 example) : M-33A/AIC banana boom mic, and U-93 com cord /plug. Earcups are looking good with their spring suspension as well (which is quite rare), chin and nape straps also have the right padding.

 

Beside the few missing parts (2 screws on the visor housing, the central locking screw on the visor knob, and the rear sizing pad in the inside), it's almost complete and sports a very nice patina.

The previous SPH-4 raised a few interrogations, but clearly not this one, seems 100% legit.

I like it, awesome example !

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That is an interesting combo for sure. Lots of pics of SPH-4s used in country but as mentioned a later war thing. I have had a few APH-5s. The most interesting one had a sand finish. Much finer than a wwii M1 helmet but more consistent texture than one. 

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AMT500E

clearly an earlier example by the 'block' shaped edge bead which was replaced by the cheaper to

manufacture, thin rubber edge bead of later (newer issue) examples.  Also evident, the retention screws and rubber

backing mounts  still in place where the Oxygen Mask leather snap tabs used to be.

Finally a metal rail fiberglass visor housing that was also an early on component of the 5.

not to mention the contract date. ;-)

Nice!

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