Marines to get enhanced combat helmets in fall

3M plans to supply 77,000 helmets with improved ballistic and shrapnel protection

Marines to get enhanced combat helmets in fall

Enhanced Combat Helmet designed by Ceradyne Inc., a 3M company. (Photo:Business Wire)

ST. PAUL, Minn.--3M announced today its wholly-owned subsidiary, Ceradyne, Inc., has been issued an $80 million delivery order with the United States government to supply 77,000 Enhanced Combat Helmets and associated spare parts to the U.S. Marine Corps. This contract is an outcome of the joint procurement program led by the U.S. Marine Corps and the U.S. Army to improve head protection for Marines and Soldiers. The Enhanced Combat Helmets designed by Ceradyne, Inc. are the only helmets that have been tested and passed using Director of Operational Test and Evaluation protocols, and will be manufactured at Ceradyne’s facility in California.

The newly-designed Enhanced Combat Helmets provide improved ballistic and fragmentation protection over any fielded helmet in history. That was proven through extensive testing in coordination with the U.S. Marine Corps and the Army. While the helmet design is equivalent in weight to the current fielded helmets, it provides an average 50 percent improved ballistic protection over helmets currently in use. The helmet also is compatible with all currently-used components of infantry combat equipment.

“3M is pleased to win this significant contract,” said Mark Colin, vice president and general manager, 3M Advanced Ceramics Platform. “We have the scientific know-how to supply our U.S. forces with the best helmets on the market to protect the lives of our warriors.”

According to the Marine Corps, the requirements for the Enhanced Combat Helmets proved to be a tall order. Working in collaboration with the United States Army, the Corps needed to maintain all the characteristics of its lightweight helmet and add enhanced ballistic protection from selected small-arms ammunition and fragmentation. In addition, the helmets had to meet the Army’s need for advanced combat, and be compatible with other components of infantry combat equipment such as body armor systems, protective goggles, night vision equipment and a camouflage fabric helmet cover.

Ceradyne, Inc. has begun helmet production for delivery beginning this fall and will be fielded to deploying Marines in the first quarter of fiscal 2014. 3M also makes combat hearing and respiratory protection, body armor and communications systems for the U.S. forces.

3M and Ceradyne are trademarks of 3M Company.