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American AFV Intercoms.

AN/VIC-1(V) Intercommunication Set
(Note: I will use correct military terms as appropriate, but the descriptions herein give a clearer idea of the components function)

'Intercommunication set AN/VIC-1(V) provides voice communication between members of crew-served weapon and between crewmembers of a vehicle....also provides crewmembers....the facility to communicate on the radios that may be associated with....the vehicle.'

Usage

US armoured vehicles from the early 1960's (no information to hand) through to the present. Also used on Marine Corps armoured vehicles and some water craft (?) eg Landing Craft?

This system is principly made up of the following units

  • AM-1780 Intercom/Amplifier
    Intercoms pic
    Download the big pics by clicking on the small pics...

    This is the heart of the intercom system and is basically a 24V amplifier.

    The labelling on the scan is pretty clear as to purpose except for the following:

    • JXXX = cable socket. Unfortunately, depending upon the individual installation, I cannot give specific info of which cable goes to which socket. Believe it or not, but even the Commanders' socket varies as does the socket where power inputs to the unit!
    • MAIN POWER=
      • NORM -If radios fitted.
      • INT ONLY -No radios in vehicle, running on Intercom only.
      • INT ACCENT = reduces radio volume so that intercom sounds are louder.
    • INSTALLATION SWITCH
      • INT ONLY -No radios in vehicle.
      • OTHER -Radio equipped.
      • RETRANS -Where the vehicle is acting as a slave retransmitter for another vehicle, ie. distance or terrain problems for the transmitting vehicle. This function is automatic once all the sitches are set.
    • POWER = a green bezel which can be turned so as to dim the internal bulb.


  • C-2296 Handset/Junction Box
    Intercoms pic
    Download the big pics by clicking on the small pics...

    The C-2296 is installed in a water proof box, outside the vehicle (usually tanks). It comes complete with an HR-207/VRC handset attached. It MUST be connected to a C-2297 box.
    • J61 = connection in parrallel to the driver's C-2297 box
    • J62 = connection to the external signal lamp, attached to the waterproof box.


  • C-2297 Crew Box with external facility
    Intercoms pic
    Download the big pics by clicking on the small pics...
    • J901 = connection to C-2296
    • J902/903 = Headset/Microphone/Speaker connectors
    • J904 = connection to the AM-1780


  • C-2298 Crew Box
    Intercoms pic

    Download the big pics by clicking on the small pics...

    This unit is quite flexible in that it can either be connected directly to the AM-1780 or an extra cable is connected from it to another C-2298 to provide a tandem installation whilst retaining all functions of both boxes.
    • J801/804 = wired in parallel, 1 is connected to the AM-1780 whilst the other is left unused or is connected to another C-2298.
    • J803/802 = Headset/Microphone/Speaker connectors.


  • Headgear - as detailed.

    • CVC Helmet
      Intercoms pic

       

      Download the big pics by clicking on the small pics...

      Combat Vehicle Crewmans Helmet or Combat Vehicle Communications Helmet (depends on which Army manual you are reading) type T56-6 = roughly Vietnam era. Earlier models had a much large hexagonal microphone along with a flat, rubber, bailout plug. The bailout connector pulls apart so that the user does not have to disentangle himself in order to bailout. It readily snaps back together. This one is a gunmetal colour and made of metal. Cables = Black, 2 x connectors on coiled cable = metal silver. Microphone plug to helmet and metalboom = Black.

    • AVC Helmet
      Intercoms pic

       

      Download the big pics by clicking on the small pics...

      Armoured Combat Crewmans Helmet or Armoured Vehicle Communications Helmet (depends on which Army manual you are reading) type DH-132 made by Gentex = 1970's(?) till present? The bailout connector pulls apart so that the user does not have to disentangle himself in order to bailout. It readily snaps back together. This one is a gunmetal colour and made of metal. Cables = Black, 2 x connectors on coiled cable = metal silver. Microphone plug to helmet and metalboom = Black. Microphone = OD Green. The piece of leather from the press stud on the helmet down past the front of the ear cup and then under it, is a blackened leather, BUT not the straps attaching to it.
      All colours are very subdued.

The picture below is of an English "Turnip" AFV Helmet (I have no info) and 2 x American AVC Helmets. It is interesting to compare the different "schools" of design.

3 x 
Helmets pic
 
Download the big pics by clicking on the small pics...

Colours
Everything is Olive Drab Green unless noted otherwise.

Discussions
In Reply to: Gentex AFV helmets posted by Sigurd Helge regarding what countries other than the US use these helmets and what they are like.
Sigurd
Australia for one, uses these helmets. I have experienced both the above and the English helmet where the headphone is seperate and goes on your head before the helmet.
My impressions are:
American - better sound dampening, average comfort and reasonable weight. Correct size is a must or it will be too tight and after a while very uncomfortable. Looking at there design, I would doubt they would last all that long.
English - Seperate headset probably gives less sound attenuation. Much more comfortable as the headset "grab" is adjustable as is the "sit" of the headset on your head. Sizing of helmet is not critical. Helmet construction much more durable.
I believe the English now have a different version where the helmet goes on first and the headset last. Looks like a very practical design. Not pretty but probably the best for user comfort.

From Mike
Having worn the Combat Vehicle Crew (CVC) helmet for about fifteen years, I agree with Doug as to fit being paramount for comfort.
The CVC, however, was a definite step up from the old VN era "Bone-Dome" that preceded it and leagues ahead of the old WW2 leather one.
I can't complain too much as mine once saved me from a rather large tree (not a branch) which fell on top of my turret. The shell cracked & I was rendered unconscious, but no permanent damage.
As to durability, with a modicum of care they will last longer than the tanker wearing it. Everything is replaceable/repairable. The electronics, Kevlar shell, pads, etc. are removable for a good wash/scrubbing.
The early shell was fiberglass, the newer KEVLAR shell is a little thicker and gives some ballistic protection.
The Israelis make a larger shell for it which gives better protection.

From Al Bowie :
Until recently I was an Electronics Artificer with the Royal Australian Elec and Mech Engineers with 20 years experience on Auusie AFVs. I have had user and maintainence experience with three generations of CVC:
US Vietnam type (cant remember the desig)
RACAL
Gentex (current).

For what is worth here is my view. The gentex would be the best of the 3 (providing you get the correct size) this is due to less time between failure, ease of repair and operator maintenance.
My only critiscism is the weight of the Kevlar shell but this is solved by substituting the racal shell (identical). The RACAL must have been designed by a committee as evidenced by the Mic Boom wiring arrangement which prevents the plug and unscrew removal/replacement available with the Gentex. This is particularly critical when equips are limited in number as are the repair personnel (we've all jumped ship for industry where the pay reflects the effort). The mic in the RACAL is far inferior to the US product and has a much greater failure rate. The gentex has great interchangeability with not only AFV headsets (161 family) but also avaitors headsets/helmets. The Vietnam issue CVC also had this feature. One problem that all these have is heat buildup in hot climates causing operator fatigue. Just my two bobs worth.

 

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