Programmes for the US Army’s Readiness Recovery
US Army personal protection programmes have increasingly challenging specifications for contracts awarded. Greater numbers of regular and Special Forces personnel are being exposed to high-powered weapons and explosive devices at closer range. And there’s more – as the military customer also wants its personal protection equipment integrated and scalable, to counter threats with the application of multiple device options.
At the same time, the Pentagon is constantly looking for the next generation of materiel and design technologies that can reduce the equipment weight burden, while maintaining or increasing the levels of protection. In addition, DoD is seeking solutions that are comfortable to wear for extended periods.
These diverse needs are resonating quite well, and are being responded to at Ceradyne, a 3M company, which is focused on supporting various US Army contracts. The company began delivery of the new Integrated Head Protection System (IHPS) early this year and will continue to deliver throughout the year. In addition to the IHPS award, the service has also awarded two research and development contracts to Ceradyne to investigate the use of new materials for helmets and body armour. The goal of this research is potentially to offer even lighter weight and higher performing protection solutions, according to Cheryl Ingstad, Global Business Manager for Advanced Ceramics Platforms – Defense at 3M.
“Exploring the potential of new materials to protect soldiers is exactly the kind of challenge that we live for as an innovation company. 3M and the US Army are both powerhouses of innovation. Bringing together our talents and resources in the service of improving protection for the soldiers of tomorrow is both rewarding and incredibly exciting. This work will culminate in the delivery of lightweight helmet and body armour prototypes for government analysis and testing,” she told MT.
Ms Ingstad also identified some of 3M’s ‘secret sauce’ for staying current with and positioning itself to more easily meet emerging defence and security personal protection requirements. “We apply science in collaborative ways to improve lives daily. Using 46 technology platforms – ranging from adhesives and abrasives, to ceramics and nanotechnology – our scientists and researchers work with customers to create breakthroughs. And our 91,000 employees are working hard every day across countries and industries to solve challenges both big and small [….] Our commitment to R&D, quality assurance systems and manufacturing processes has earned 3M the reputation of a trusted manufacturer of the latest, cutting-edge technologies in the personal protection market.”