Tactical Tailor

Posts Tagged ‘Ceradyne’

Ops-Core Wins Norwegian Helmet Contract

Thursday, September 8th, 2011

Boston-based Ops-Core, Inc was awarded a contract last week to supply the Norwegian Army with their Future Assault Shell Technology (FAST) helmet. The FAST helmet will replace the current PASGT style aramid helmet manufactured by Cato Ringstad AS.

While specific numbers have not yet been released, the Norwegian Army will purchase enough helmets to not only outfit their active forces, but some of the National Guard as well. The current strength of the Norwegian Army sits at around 22,000. However, a post on a Norwegian military forum in July by someone close to the program forecasted the delivery of 1000 helmets for operational use before the end of the year.

In order to supply these helmets, Ops-Core won a year-long competitive program named “Project 4004” with several down select mile-stones which included troop trials, ballistic and other safety testing. Norwegian Special Forces have already been using the Ops-Core helmet for over a year in training as well as operational roles so Ops-Core’s selection, while arduous, was not surprising.

In a press release from Ops-Core, member of Norwegian Defense Logistic Organization (NDLO) program manager Per Morten Brunborg is quoted as saying, “The FAST helmet gave our program flexibility to adapt to a variety of service positions and mission profiles that were difficult to accomplish with only one helmet in the past.” He went on to add, “This helmet saves the overall program money by allowing us to field it service wide in several configurations, instead of having to field several different kinds of helmets like we used to. It’s also very beneficial that we can provide our soldiers better ballistic performance at a much lighter weight than our previous helmet. The Ops-Core FAST High Cut version provides the Norwegian Army the right balance between comfort and integration of attachments, which stress the soldiers neck less than the previous solutions and enhances the durability of the soldier.” As you can see, not only did the Norwegian Army find the FAST helmet’s modularity made possible by the Visual Augmentation System (VAS) shroud and Accessory Rail Connector (ARC) rails particularly desirable, but also its lightweight protection as well.

The FAST helmet boasts a ballistic shell developed during a multi-year collaboration effort between Ops-Core, Ceradyne and DSM Dyneema. Ceradyne, the sub-contractor who molds the shell, has a special seamless processing technique using Dyneema’s ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene material that yields outstanding ballistic protection at lower weights. Much of the systems technology used in this helmet has also been in the works over the last ten years with significant inputs from the US Army’s PEO Soldier, the Army Research Lab, and Natick Soldier Systems Center. The FAST helmet actually has more in common with the new Enhanced Combat Helmet (ECH) for the US Army and Marine Corps than the baseline MICH.

Deliveries of the FAST helmet to Norway are scheduled to commence in 4th Quarter of 2011 and continue through 3rd Quarter of 2012. In what is most likely a Norwegian version of an IDIQ contract, it is valid for 10 years and is good for future Norwegian procurement and purchasing activities. On a final note, Ops-Core is well represented throughout Europe by Norwegian company NFM but the helmets will reportedly be manufactured in the US.

For more information, please visit the Ops-Core website at www.ops-core.com.

New Helmet Coming for US Troops

Friday, February 18th, 2011

For the first time, U.S. Forces will be equipped with combat helmets capable of providing reliable protection against rifle fire (an as yet undisclosed .30 threat) at close range and at any angle. Such an advancement, long the Holy Grail of armored headgear designers, has been achieved through the use of an advanced thermoplastic composite mixture by Ceradyne, maker of advanced hard armor inserts for ballistic vests and vehicles.

Called the Ceradyne Diaphorm Ballistic Helmet, the design is twice the price of current Army and Marine Corps helmets, but provides up to 70% improvement in ballistic protection while remaining light enough to meet current requirements. Moreover, use of advanced construction techniques makes production simpler by allowing molding of the shell without having to cut or dart materials, as has been done previously. This allows creation of a seamless, multilayered form that is weather and chem/bio agent proof.

The U.S. Army is expected to field some 200,000 of the helmets beginning in the fall of 2011, with units bound for Afghanistan being the first recipients.

-Mike Perry