Lowa Zephyr Mk2 GTX

AUSA – 3M/Ceradyne

Late last year 3M purchased armor producer Ceradyne. At this year’s AUSA Annual Meeting & Expo Ceradyne displayed their wares in the 3M booth. This new helmet, the 3M “Defender” Ultra Light Weight Ballistic Bump Helmet caught my eye but I was not allowed to photograph it. However, they did hand me a brochure. It leverages the technology they developed for the USMC’s Enhanced Combat Helmet program. I though I’d share the brochure with you. Hopefully, we’ll be able to share more at SHOT Show.


Click on image to view .pdf

Tags: ,

18 Responses to “AUSA – 3M/Ceradyne”

  1. Angry Misha says:

    I have personally handled this item and it is AWESOME. The shell geometry, features and fit are lightyears ahead of other ballistic systems that are out there

    In my humble opinion, any fielding of a helmet that offers increased protection should be deadlined until there is a marked improvment in technology that will offer SIGNIFICANT (>50%) improvement over the current helmet in a lighter (>50%) package.

    It would be a more pragmatic approach to adopt a LIGHTER helmet at current protection levels to mitigate the weight of all the “Stuff” we hang off it. Plus, if it’s lighter, individuals will be more apt to keep it on (remember the pic of the Marine in ‘astan who stripped off all his PPE on patrol and almost caught one?)

    Now I will be the first to agree that it is up to small unit leaders to ensure good order and discipline. However lighter is better and will mitigate physical injuries that will manifest after long term use.

    • Sal says:

      We do. It’s just that the Marines for some reason wanted it to protect against rifle rounds (which is fucking idiotic IMO but whatever), and of course the Army went along with it. What they should’ve done was to make the ECH way lighter than the ACH/LWH, and make something like velocity systems’ SLAAP plate in case rifle-level protection was needed.

      Anyway, how is 3M’s helmet compared to the FAST and exfil helmets?

      • DTyo says:

        I had a buddy take a round off the dome overseas with a ACH on. I was never big on helmets in general having grown up with the old kevlar, but after seeing that I welcome these new headgear developments as long as protection isn’t sacrificed. Basically this is a long way of saying that if we can challenge ourselves to integrate better protection and achieve a light weight I think it is a worthy goal.

      • Angry Misha says:

        Honestly Sal, I wouldn’t compare it to the Team Wendy piece because that it’s not ballistic. But I will tell you that it is superior in every way to the OPS-CORE helmet. This I believe is primarily due to the helmet geometry. The OPS-CORE helmet tends to give me the “mushroom head” feeling and honestly, I could never get one to fit really well so I just turned it in and went back to my MICH and CVC helmet. The best way to describe this piece would be very close to the ILC Dover IBH.

        • Sal says:

          Hmm, I’ve heard of the FAST helmets being uncomfortable for some people but I thought it was due to the occ-dial, not the helmet shell itself.

          • Angry Misha says:

            Sal, you’re probably correct. Due to the OCU-Dial we had to dig out all of our over the head MSA Sordin head sets. Because I had to up size when issued the FAST, I asked OPS-Core if I could just strip everything outside of a SM/MD shell and replace it with the Team Wendy EPIC pad set and the suspension with OPS-Core’s IMRS. Viktoria said no dice. Honestly, if I could’ve done that, I would’ve liked the FAST and not gone back to my old lid

            • SSD says:

              That’s interesting because they’ve told me that you can use the ZAP pads no problem in the FAST Helmet.

              • Angry Misha says:


                • Angry Misha says:

                  SSD, you’re correct that you can remove the stock pads in the crown, side and rear of the helmet. What I was referring to is ripping out the entire Occ Dial system and replaceing it with the Improved MICH Retention System (IMRS) aka OPS Core “H-Back” and using the Team Wendy EPIC Pads.

                  THAT you cannot do

                  • Chris says:

                    You can absolutely rip out the entire OCC-Dial system in the FAST and replace it with Team Wendy kit. It is being done everyday. Although I will say the EPIC liner with the Cam-Fit combo is a better layup.

                    • Angry Misha says:

                      Really, I can completely rip out the whole Ops Core suspension system, to a bare shell, and replace it with the MICH EPIC pads and IMRS? So, what you’re saying is that we were misinformed by Viktoria?

  2. Attack7 says:

    I was also in attendance and in the booth at the same time. This concept has different levels of protection. There’s one brochure covering 3-4 helmet variants.

    I remember when we all bragged, “our helmets are Air Items”, now the cool thing to do is strap on as much mount, weight, camera, and light to it! They all have uses in combat, but it’s funny how NATICK still chases the ‘lightweight’ factor on everything, even though operational units will continue to carry what is needed and the smart ones will hit a WOD harder in order to compensate for the extra weight!

    You can’t really see it, but this is a slimmer design than the helmet in high demand right now! This and the rail size is what caught my eye.

  3. TCBA_Joe says:

    So, this uses the same materials as the ECH, but instead of making it thicker for rifle rounds, they kept it a standard thickness which dropped the weight and kept the same ballistic properties of the ACH?

    If so, very cool. I’m sure they’ll be just as expensive as the FAST and Airframe though.

    • Angry Misha says:

      If you wanna play, you gotta pay, either out of your pocket or by busting your ass to get somewhere that issues it.

      In regards to the latter, I can attest that it’s cheaper in the long run

  4. Alex says:

    Wow, 1.33 lbs is insane. 1 1lb less than my Airframe.

    Has anyone looked inside the shell? Does it have a carbon fiber backing like the competition (ops-core, crye)?

    • Angry Misha says:

      I’ve seen the inside, and I’m sure theres a reason they didnt want SSD taking pics of it, So I won’t answer as to the composition. The method of installing the retention system and NVG mount are pretty revolutinanry though.

      • SSD says:

        Yeah, it’s a no bolt helmet which introduces new challenges for attachment of accessories.

        • Angry Misha says:

          I guess as long as you stick with a three hole shroud, you’re ok and depending on how it sells, I’m sure retention systems will be available too. But from what I understand, all of the key rail interfaces that OPS-Core makes for items like the Contour and Princeton Tec’s Charge MPLS Pro will slide right in and unlike the OPS rail, you don’t need a MIL-STD-1913 rail adaptor.