The British Ministry of Defence (Defense Clothing Integrated Project Team) awarded "Contract No. DC3ESL/5185 for the Supply of Protective Eyewear" to Eye Safety Systems, Inc. (ESS) of Sun Valley, Idaho USA, via their UK agent, EPS UK Ltd.
The four-year contract, announced 7 July 2005, is for the supply of the ESS Advancer V-12™ goggle and the ESS ICE 2.4™ spectacle. An urgent initial delivery of 28,000 units was completed in August for British troops deploying to Iraq and Afghanistan. The next delivery, also 28,000 units, will be made in October.
The decision was the result of a three-month solicitation, which itself was the culmination of more than 15 months of careful trial, evaluation, and development. The MOD required a single manufacturer to supply both ballistic military goggles and spectacles, along with an interchangeable prescription insert. Project Director, Major John Stoddart, commented, "We went through a challenging and rigorous selection process from which ESS was selected to provide protective eyewear for British Forces personnel who are deployed on Operations in extremely demanding and dangerous environments." ESS produced a unique combination of impact protection, anti-fog technology, interchangeable lenses (smoke, clear, and amber), Rx compatibility, and integration with existing equipment (helmet, NVG, and weapon sight). Major Stoddart said of the selection of ESS, "We are delighted that ESS is supporting the British MOD with the supply of eye protection."
The contract is the second significant British selection of ESS products in the last year. In October 2004, a Contract Award Notice cited "technical merit, quality, delivery date, price, and cost effectiveness" as the primary criteria for selecting the same two ESS products for an Urgent Operational Requirement of more than 50,000 units. Contrary to misleading press releases published earlier this year, no other manufacturer has recently supplied significant quantities of eyewear to British forces. "ESS is honored to be exclusively selected by the UK MOD," said ESS President and CEO, John Dondero, "We look forward to a lasting partnership in eyewear innovation to protect British soldiers."
The ESS Advancer V-12™ and ICE 2.4™ are the first goggle and spectacle ever widely issued to British troops. Permanent NATO stock numbers have been cataloged. UK soldier modernization project teams (FIST), the PECOC program (Personnel Equipment & Common Operational Clothing), and Urban Warfare are also evaluating ESS eye protection systems.