The ballistic helmet market will see new products from 3M in October, according to Cheryl Ingstad, the firm’s business manager for advanced ceramic platforms.

The recently launched 3M N49 Ultra Light Weight Ballistic Bump Helmet is designed to reduce the equipment burden on users, while providing a unique combination of protection and comfort: “It weighs only 575 grams (1.3 pounds/lbs) in size ‘large’ and meets the NIJ (National Institute of Justice) Level-IIIA ballistic resistance standard for penetration. It also provides fragmentation protection for fragments travelling at 670 metres-per-second (2198 feet-per-second), according to the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation’s Standardisation Agreement-2920 standard, Ms. Ingstad added.

In addition, 3M will be launching two new globally available ballistic helmets at the 2017 Association of the United States Army Exposition this mid-October in Washington, DC. Ms. Ingstad provided early details of the two products, pointing out that the first helmet addresses a key customer needs for small-arms and rifle protection, at the same weight requirements of the Advanced Combat Helmet. She continued, “The second helmet provides the exacting combination of high ballistic performance and a lightweight, in a modular system design with modern geometry. It will be available in high-cut and mid-cut coverage, and it meets most current mission or threat-level needs of our customers.”

Asked to describe current customer requirements in this market, Ms. Ingstad observed greater numbers of military, tactical, special forces and first responders are being exposed to high-powered weapons and explosive devices as a result of political violence, regional wars, mass shootings, public unrest and rioting: “There is a strong need and expectation of security and certainty about the level of head protection used in these circumstances.”

Accordingly, 3M’s customers “strive to purchase ballistic helmets that provide the best balance … between weight, protection, comfort, fast delivery, quality and cost for their programme and operators’ specific needs. They want to help protect military forces, increase their survival rates, and enable them to do their jobs well” Ms. Ingstad concluded.

by Marty Kauchak

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Marty Kauchak

Marty Kauchak is a retired US Navy captain, having served in a number of operational assignments with the service’s surface warfare community. He was awarded an MA in National Security and Strategic Studies from the US Naval War College, and resides in New Orleans, Louisiana.