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Army Helmet Recall – the Plot Thickens

Last week we began to hear some rumblings from industry that the Advanced Combat Helmets sold to the Army by ArmorSource were actually produced by sub-contractor UNICOR (federal prison industries). UNICOR has first right of refusal for numerous commodities purchased by the government. For example, try to buy office furniture for a government building without going to UNICOR first. UNICOR is no stranger to manufacturing helmets, nor to making a mess of the deal. Some PASGT Helmets produced by UNICOR between 1980 and 2006 were found to have been incorrectly manufactured with not enough Kevlar. At that time, UNICOR was working as a sub-contractor to produce helmets for Sioux Manufacturing Corporation. So, unfortunately for ArmorSource (formerly known as Rabintex USA), the Army’s statement last week about removing the helmets from service makes it seem that they are under investigation by the Department of Justice. Perhaps they are, but the investigation is being handled by the US Attorney for Eastern Texas which also happens to be near the UNICOR facility in Beaumont, Texas that produced the helmets in question. This makes it seem to be a UNICOR-centric issue and begs the question whether UNICOR has any business manufacturing personal protective equipment for the military.

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