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Posts Tagged ‘KDH’

Armor Express and KDH Defense Systems Merge, Creating one of the Largest Manufacturers and Distributors of Body Armor and Protective Solutions Worldwide

Thursday, January 11th, 2018

CENTRAL LAKE, MI, January 11, 2018 – Central Lake Armor Express, Inc. (“Armor Express“), a leading manufacturer and distributor of high-performance body armor solutions, is proud to announce that it has officially merged with KDH Defense Systems (“KDH”). By joining forces, the Companies now serve the U.S. Armed Forces, Department of Defense, Federal and Domestic law enforcement professionals, and various international agencies across the world.


Since Armor Express was founded in 2005, it has been one of the leading suppliers of concealable and tactical body armor systems to Law Enforcement, with a distribution network spanning the United States and select international markets. The Company has also expanded in recent years, becoming one of the largest providers of protective solutions to Federal Law Enforcement, on the heels of recent contract wins with the Department of Homeland Security and other prestigious Federal agencies. Similarly, KDH is one of the prime manufacturers of protective gear for the Department of Homeland Security and has several contracts with other Federal agencies, in addition to its long-standing heritage as one of the largest suppliers of body armor systems to the U.S. Armed Forces. Since KDH was founded in 2003, it has produced various versions of the Outer Tactical Vest (“OTV”), Improved Outer Tactical Vest (“IOTV”), Soldier Plate Carrier System, ATPC Spear system, Modular Scalable Vest (“MSV”), Light Air Warrior System (“LAWS”), Ultra Low Visibility Concealable Body Armor (“ULV-CBA”), and other related products and accessories. Today, KDH is believed to be the largest provider of body armor to the U.S. Armed Forces.


It was also announced today that James R. Henderson has been appointed Chief Executive Officer of Praesidium, the Holding Company that owns both Armor Express and KDH Defense Systems. An industry veteran with over 30 years of operational and financial experience, Jim also served as Chief Executive Officer of Point Blank Enterprises, Inc. and was instrumental in the Company’s expansion and growth with the U.S. Armed Forces, Domestic and Federal Law Enforcement, and internationally. He also was responsible for fostering strategic partnerships with supply chain and technology leaders, while working with the industry to optimize performance and deliver the highest quality solutions to our protectors.


Commenting on today’s news, Mr. Henderson stated, “The combination of Armor Express and KDH is a win for the industry and the thousands of end-users who rely on both companies’ life-saving protective solutions. Manufacturing capacity, ballistic R&D and carrier design capabilities are significantly enhanced, and the platform for growth has never been stronger. The opportunities to continue to partner with leading fiber, fabric, material and component companies are limitless and together, Armor Express and KDH will drive innovation and deliver the highest-performing body armor systems in the industry. We look forward to working with our partners and exploring ways to improve further.”


Matt Davis, founder of Armor Express and Dave Herbener, founder of KDH, will both serve as President of their respective organizations, reporting to Mr. Henderson. Manufacturing of Domestic and Federal body armor will continue to be performed at Armor Express’ facility in Central Lake, MI and KDH will continue to produce on its Military, Government and Federal Law Enforcement contracts at its manufacturing facility in Eden, NC.

KDH Defense Systems Chooses Honeywell Materials For Products Designed For US Military Protection System

Wednesday, October 5th, 2016

Spectra Shield® and Gold Shield® help military achieve goals for reducing soldiers’ body armor weight

MORRIS PLAINS, N.J., Oct. 4, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — Honeywell (NYSE: HON) announced today that KDH Defense Systems will use Spectra Shield® and Gold Shield® ballistic composite materials to create new soft armor vest systems as part of the U.S. Army’s next-generation Soldier Protection System (SPS).

Reducing body armor weight is a key goal for the Army. The SPS is a modular, scalable and tailorable system designed to provide an overall weight reduction of 10 percent. It is comprised of five subsystems, one of which is the Torso and Extremity Protection (TEP) subsystem that aims to achieve a 26 percent weight reduction. KDH Defense Systems will incorporate Spectra Shield and Gold Shield with its own ballistic designs to produce several TEP products.

“The key to reducing body armor weight is combining state-of-the-art ballistic designs like KDH Modular Scalable Vests with next-generation materials like Honeywell Shield,” said Dave Herbener, president and CEO, KDH Defense Systems. “We are committed to leveraging the most innovative technologies to help protect the brave men and women serving in the U.S. military.”

Short Bark Industries is also using Spectra Shield to create Ballistic Combat Shirts (BCS) for the SPS TEP system. The company specializes in soft armor, tactical wear, gear and accessories for the military, governmental agencies and law enforcement.

“Honeywell Spectra Shield is a key material to create armor that meets the military’s rigorous requirements for weight, mobility, flexibility and protection,” said Lisa Held Janke, president and CEO, Short Bark Industries, LLC. “Our team works tirelessly to develop solutions that help protect soldiers from the ballistic threats they face in combat.”

Armor made with Honeywell’s Spectra Shield and Gold Shield products were chosen by soldiers after a U.S. Military Human Factors Evaluation. These armor systems demonstrated improved mobility and flexibility, in addition to reduced weight, compared to systems predominantly made with woven aramid.

“The next generation of soft body armor uses Spectra fiber instead of aramid fiber for optimal performance and protection,” said Lin Murray, armor program manager for military and law enforcement at Honeywell Packaging and Composites. “Our collaboration with innovative companies like KDH Defense Systems and Short Bark Industries ensures that the U.S. military and law enforcement have the most advanced ballistic protection available.”

Spectra Shield technology is a patented Honeywell process designed to optimize the ballistic performance characteristics of Spectra fibers. Spectra Shield and Gold Shield products have been widely adopted and proven for the most advanced armor applications globally, from bullet-resistant vests, breast plates and helmets to combat vehicles and military aircraft—all of which require lightweight solutions and superior performance.

Honeywell maintains an active Spectra fiber and ballistic materials research program focused on continuous improvement and development of high-performance materials. For more information, visit

KDH Lays Off 280 at Eden NC Plant

Tuesday, December 4th, 2012

According to the Winston-Salem Journal, body armor manufacturer KDH is laying off 280 in January at their Eden, North Carolina plant due to the end of Government orders.

KDH manufacturers the IOTV for the Army as well as the IMTV and Plate Carrier for the USMC.

This lay off is hoped to be temporary as KDH works to bring in LE business, but the slow down will affect almost two-thirds of their work force.

KDH Releases Body Care and Use Manual

Sunday, January 8th, 2012

Get yours at

They will also be in booth #6003 at SHOT Show.

Take This! Oh Yeah? Well, Take That!

Saturday, November 19th, 2011

In 2009, KDH and Eagle Industries entered into a teaming agreement to bid on production of the USMC’s Improved Modular Tactical Vests and Plate Carriers. KDH was awarded contracts for production of both systems by the Marines. Initial production samples were made but some issues arose over the Government’s design and consequently costs rose. Eagle says that KDH couldn’t come to an agreement on pricing so, in September, Eagle Industries sued KDH alleging, “refusing to honor previously established prices, by offering Eagle only take-it-or-leave-it pricing, and by threatening to use entities other than Eagle to perform work encompassed by the Teaming Agreement.”

Eagle vs KDH

Naturally, KDH filed their own suit against Eagle. However, this one is a little tougher to follow. Had they just countersued they would have had to file in Missouri. But their suit alleges an entirely different set of circumstances. This means that the KDH suit was filed in North Carolina. You might think that KDH is a Pennsylvania company but you see, they moved to their current ISO 9001 facility in Eden, North Carolina from Johnstown, Pennsylvania in early 2010 after the passing of defense appropriations sugar daddy Rep John Murtha. At any rate, according to KDH, Eagle bought some armor to fulfill a contract, that they never paid for. They want their paper!

KDH vs Eagle

Now, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that these two suits, while focusing on two seemingly separate issues, are actually symptoms of a larger issue of corporate discord.

The defense budget is shrinking. There won’t be as many contracts in the future, as we have seen over the last 10 years, so expect to see more of these types of suits filed as companies begin to deal with the new reality. Things are getting tough. However, considering what lawyers cost, they both may well end up losing even more money on these lawsuits than they would have had they just sucked it up and made things happen.

Army Purchasing More SPCS

Thursday, July 14th, 2011

For any of you that missed the saga that is the Soldier Plate Carrier System (SPCS) you can find a great synopsis here. Since downselecting the KDH design in SPD 7, the Army has procured an initial amount in UCP, purchased the Technical Data Package (TDP) from KDH, changed the colorway to OCP, and developed a cummerbund.

Now, Product Manager Soldier Protective Equipment (PM SPE) is seeking additional OEF Camouflage Pattern (OCP) Soldier Plate Carrier Systems (SPCS). In addition to 17,000 complete carriers, the Army is also seeking up to 42,000 OCP kits in order to modify existing SPCS and up to 32,000 cummerbunds with soft armor package. Additionally, 57 First Article Test vests will be be required within 30 days of contract award. The procurement is set aside from Small Business and offerors have until 8 August, 2011 to respond.

Top 3 Soldier Systems Shockers – 2009

Thursday, December 31st, 2009

There were three major shockers this year and all happened over the last few months.

1. Blackhawk’s Serpa is New SOCOM Holster – After a Natick sponsored shoot off at the US Training Center in Moyock, NC, the Blackhawk Serpa was chosen as the new holster component for SOCOM’s series of Load Carrying System (LCS) Kits.

2. Army Adopts KDH Plate Carrier – In fact, KDH wins every major armor contract in the latter half of 2009. After a GSA-based solicitation KDH was chosen to provide the US Army with 57000 Soldier Plate Carriers the first of which are to be fielded in January for use in Afghanistan.

3. UK Releases Multi Terrain Pattern – With a little help from Crye Precision the MoD adopted a new pattern blending the color scheme of MultiCam with the feel of DPM.

KDH Does It Again

Friday, October 9th, 2009

Like the little engine that could, KDH wins yet another armor contract. This time for 57,000 plate carriers. So this makes IOTV, IMTV/PC, and now the Army’s Plate Carrier all at the same time. Not bad for a small business. I wonder how they are getting it all done. They have opened a new factory in Eden, North Carolina that is according to recent visitors, only at half capacity. Unfortunately, the real issue with capacity these days isn’t floor space or number of machines but rather human capital. Finding qualified, experienced sewers and other textile workers even in areas where plants have closed in the past is extremely difficult.

Lots of conjecture on the web about how KDH continues to win contracts but quite honestly, it probably has a lot to do with price. Estimates indicate that KDH probably offered the plate carriers to the Army at just over $300 a pop with soft armor based on the number of vests and the amount of the award. That is about half what other companies were seeking.

KDH Plate Carrier

Interestingly, the Army handled this procurement through GSA and this is the first time that they have used GSA to purchase armor due to concerns over ballistic ratings. Additionally, the GSA solicitation was open for a fairly short window and in spite of a requirement during Soldier Protection Demonstration VII that the carriers be releasable, the GSA solicitation dropped it altogether yet they retained the 9 lbs weight threshold associated with a heavier cut-away system. Of course, neither SOCOM nor the Marines have a cut-away plate carrier system. But these oddball requirements meant that companies that did not meet the requirements for inclusion in SPD VII were able to bid on the plate carriers through GSA.

KDH lists their Soldier Plate Carrier with Quick Release System on their GSA website for $439.29 so we are unsure if they bid that at a discount via GSA or a non-releasable system. According to the description of their vest it “Includes OTV/IOTV Specification(FQ/PD 07-05 Latest Rev. CO/PD 00-02 Latest Rev.) Lvl IIIA Equivalent Soft Ballistc Inserts and Integrated Side Plate Pouches. Also available with NIJ Specifica”.