The US Army has awarded a contract to Bae Systems to supply headborne energy analysis and diagnostic systems (HEADS) to soldiers operating in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Under the $17m contract, the company will deliver thousands of generation II HEADS helmet sensors, which will be fitted inside combat helmets for US troops.

HEADS is a modular, helmet-integrated sensor package that provides constant and automatic data collection of the severe impacts on the head during blast, ballistic and crash operations.

The BAE-developed HEADS is specifically designed to enhance the soldier monitoring capacity and to help identify risk levels for combat-related traumatic brain injuries (TBI).

The generation II HEADS sensor features a LED light that will blink when a blast exceeds a certain threshold alerting the surrounding soldiers about the injured victim.

The sensor also provides medical professionals with a diagnostic tool that helps to determine the severity of a possible TBI.

Data collected by the small lightweight sensor include impact location, magnitude, duration, blast pressures as well as the exact times of blasts, which will be securely stored and then analysed by medical teams using a simple USB or wireless connection.

Initial production deliveries of the generation II HEADS units are scheduled to begin in April 2011 and complete by July 2011.