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Saudi Arabian Army US-Made Tan Ground Troops Liner

Cap Camouflage Pattern I

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Cap Camouflage Pattern I


It’s fairly well known that around 1975 the US Army Natick Labs developed a tan version of the All-purpose Lightweight Individual Carrying Equipment (ALICE) for the Saudi Arabian Army which was manufactured by US companies in FY76. However it’s not nearly as well known that there was also a tan version of the ground troops helmet “M1” as well as a M-69 style body armor vest. It wasn’t until earlier this year I learned about it and I was unable to find any examples or collector discussion of them online so when my friend alerted me to this liner for sale I had to get it despite its poor condition, the fact it is a sample somewhat compensates for the condition however. 


It’s a removable suspension ballistic nylon liner with a factory tan paint job and tan suspension. 


Iso-Group.com lists NSN 8470-01-004-6224, Liner, Ground Troops Helmet, as being Tan, shade 98002 outside. It was assigned 11 June 1975, the day after 8470-001-004-2659 Helmet, Ground troops which is listed as being Tan, shade 98001 outside and explicitly listed as being for the Saudi Arabian Army.


There is no trace of any ink stamps ever having been present inside the liner, I suspect like with many liners made in the early 70s the NSN, designation, and contract information were on a sticker which has since fallen off considering the condition of the liner. The suspension lacks a NSN, but does have the contract number: DSA 100-76-C-0023, which was awarded to Aqua Aire Products Inc in November 1975 with a completion date of June 1976 for a price of $1,209,000.


The mold mark in the crown is Firestone, however for a number of reasons I believe the liner body was actually manufactured by Aqua Aire, just with a mold acquired from Firestone, either purchased directly or possibly indirectly through the government. 


For one, the cost; I wish I had more recent numbers, but in 1967 and 1969 the US government spent $4.07 and $2.40 respectively for nylon liners, adjusting for inflation that would be $6.93 and $3.72 in 1976 dollars. $1,209,000 would be about 174,500 to 325,000 liners, which although on the low end of contacts for US use, is actually excessive considering in 1975 the Saudi Arabian Army numbered 36,000 men and the National Guard 26,000. I’m not sure what the exact unit cost for a suspension was, however I have to imagine $1.2 million would be well over a million suspensions, which is wildly excessive.


Secondly, Aqua Aire manufactured other ground troops liners such as DSA100-74-C-0208 (this contract is marked on a sticker applied directly to the body) and likely other contracts I haven’t been able to confirm as well as both HGU-39/P (DLA 100-80-C-3434) and PASGT (DLA 100-80-C-0266) helmets, so they definitely had the capacity to make liners in this timeframe.


Thirdly, the writing on the outside lists the last 4 digits (the only unique part) of the contact number, “0023”, which suggests the sample is of a complete liner assembly made under contract 0023. Were the suspension contracted separately from the liner body I would expect the sample writing to be on the suspension directly. The fact the suspension lacks a NSN may also suggest it was never procured separately as a replacement part like US use ones were, but was only exclusively procured as part of the complete liner assembly. 


I suspect this was the only liner contract as all US-made Saudi gear I’m aware of has FY76 contracts and if my estimates of quantity are remotely accurate it should have been enough to equip the entire Saudi Arabian Army, National Guard, Air Force, and Navy. Additionally Saudi Arabia seems to have later turned to Asian manufacturers, which would undoubtedly be cheaper than US manufacturers with ALICE gear being made in Korea and Taiwanese-made tan pre-1972 style helmets being fairly commonly found today and seen in use in photos of the 1990-1991 Gulf War alongside the US-made helmets. 


In theory the US-made helmets and liners should be fairly easy to find if a couple hundred thousand were made, but they are probably all in Saudi Arabia, with this one only remaining in the US because it was a manufacturing sample. Now I’m on the lookout for a shell and either the missing head band and nape strap to complete this liner, or a complete example in better condition, as well as the body armor vest.


Allied soldiers questioning Iraqi prisoners, 23 km from the Saudi Arabian border, near Mina Saud. 24 February 1991. I believe this is a US-made helmet because it has a the style of angled nylon chinstrap with chincup introduced in 1972 (8470-00-030-8003), while the Taiwanese-made helmets also seen in the gulf war had a copy of the 1953-1972 style chinstrap. 

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I’d never heard of these, but that’s wicked cool!  

Thanks for taking the time to share, will save this thread to my reference just in case I ever get lucky enough to come across one in the wild.

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  • 2 months later...

Accidentally stumbled over this little newspaper clip looking for something else, then googled and found your posting here and went on to look up the contract.




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