More so today than ever before, the United States military is preparing for potential nuclear, biological, and/or chemical attacks. Fortunately, there are defense systems designed to keep military personnel safe should one of these attacks occur.
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The field protective mask (M40/M42-series) is the standard Army field mask. It entered service in 1992, taking over for the M17-series.
The mask is designed to provide eye, face, and respiratory protection against biological and chemical agents as well as other contaminants. When compared to the previous mask, used in service before 1992, the M40/M42-series is much more comfortable while offering advanced features.
With improved comfort and fit, military personnel can wear the M40-series protective mask for a longer period of time ? without ever feeling ?bogged down.? The main features of the mask include: elastic head harness, binocular eye lens system, and a rubber face piece (made of silicone) with a face seal.
The more advanced features of the M40-series masks include: drinking tube, side and front voicemitters, tinted and clear inserts, and a filter canister. With these features, as well as those for comfort listed above, the mask can be worn for a continuous period of 12 hours.
Additional Military Masks
To go along with the ?standard issue? mask, there are several others used in the military.
1. M40A1 Mask. This mask is available in three sizes (small, medium, and large) and used by dismounted soldiers.
2. M42A2 Combat Vehicle Crewman Mask. This mask is similar to the M40A1, but adds a built-in microphone for improved wire communication.
3. M45 Protective Mask. The M45 is for Blackhawk crew members. The biggest addition to this mask is a forced ventilation air system. Additionally, it is 100 percent compatible with night vision devices as well as aircraft sighting systems ? two important features for Blackhawk crew members.
4. M48 and M49 Masks. These masks are saved for Apache aviators. The biggest upgrade, when compared to others, is the upscale blower which is battery powered and chest mounted.
All of these military field protective masks are manufactured by ILC Dover out of Frederica, Delaware.