US Army Awards 3M Additional $34 Million
It was announced on 1 March that the US Army awarded Ceradyne, Inc., a 3M company, an additional U$34 million to continue supplying its Integrated Head Protection System (IHPS). This ballistic helmet uses advanced materials, an ultramodern design and add-on accessories to give soldiers greater comfort and advanced protection for modern missions. This brings Ceradyne’s total IHPS contract value to more than $52 million.
The US Army created the highly technical IHPS to give soldiers a lighter-weight ballistic helmet with passive hearing protection and increased blunt-impact performance. It is a component of the Army’s next-generation Soldier Protection System (SPS) programme, which seeks to optimise soldier protection while reducing total equipment weight.
“This order reinforces the US Army’s confidence in 3M to design and produce the IHPS, which is so advanced, it sets a new global standard for head protection,” Cheryl Ingstad, Global Business Manager, Advanced Ceramics Platform – Defense, 3M, said.
The IHPS is designed to protect against modern battlefield threats, including powerful rifle projectiles and handgun bullets. It can be fitted with accessories, such as mandible, visor, night vision goggle attachment, rails and a modular ballistic applique for increased protection. 3M will begin delivery in early 2018 and will continue to deliver throughout the year.
In 2016, the US Army has selected Ceradyne as the awardee for two low-rate initial production (LRIP) contracts for next-generation helmet systems and hard body armour inserts as part of the IHPS and Vital Torso Protection (VTP) – Enhanced Small Arms Protective Inserts (ESAPI) components of the SPS. The contract awarded to Ceradyne was valued at over $7 million for the delivery of more than 5,300 IHPS helmet systems. Production is expected to start in 2017. MONS reported about the SPS here.
The SPS will replace the Army’s current personal protective equipment (PPE) system. It is designed to defeat current threats while providing an overall weight reduction for soldiers compared to existing PPE. Both the IHPS and VTP began as research and development programmes with multiple contenders.