The US Army Program Executive Office (PEO) Soldier has taken delivery of advanced ballistic materials from Honeywell, which will be used in the production of next-generation combat helmets for troops.
The delivery of a total of 218 helmets, containing advanced spectra shield and gold shield ballistic materials, follows a three-year contract secured by the company in June 2011.
Honeywell Advanced Fibers and Composites business global marketing manager James Thagard said: "Honeywell's latest materials will help the US Army develop a new generation of combat helmets that provide soldiers with greater protection than they have today."
James Zheng, PEO Soldier project manager and soldier protection and individual equipment chief scientist, said that the primary goal of the US Army was to reduce the weight of body armour, simultaneously increasing the head protection.
"Through the testing of these new helmets, we will be able to accelerate the development of future lightweight helmet systems," Zheng said.
The new helmets containing spectra and gold shield ballistic materials will now be validated by the PEO Soldier, to help determine the performance requirements and design of the future army helmets.
According to the company, the helmets are 16% to 24% lighter when compared with the army's existing helmets; they also provide improved ballistic and non-ballistic protection against handgun rounds and fragments from improvised explosive devices (IEDs).
Spectra shield is a high-strength, lightweight composite material developed from spectra fibre, which is an ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) material; it provides soldiers with increased head protection against multiple hits and angle shots.
The materials have been used in the development of a wide range of military equipment, such as ballistic-resistant vests, helmets and armoured vehicles, and small arms protective insert (SAPI) armour plates.