By Nick Gilbert
Honeywell, based in Morris Township, New Jersey, has delivered advanced ballistic materials to the U.S. Army for use in the development of a new generation of combat helmets.
As a part of an agreement entered with the army in April 2011, the company has supplied 218 helmets, which includes advanced Gold Shield and Spectra Shield ballistic materials. These helmets are 16-24% lighter than the helmets that are currently used by the U.S. soldiers. In addition, they offer improved ballistic and non-ballistic performance against fragments from explosive devices and handgun rounds.
James Thagard, global marketing manager for Advanced Fibers and Composites business of Honeywell, stated that the company’s latest materials will support the Army to develop new combat helmets that provide greater protection to soldiers. The Program Executive Office (PEO) Soldier of the Army will evaluate the advanced helmet materials and designs. The major goal of the U.S. Army is to reduce the weight of body armor and provide head protection for the comfort and safety of soldiers. The testing of the new helmets will enable the PEO Soldier to hasten the development of next-generation lightweight helmet systems.
Honeywell’s ballistic materials are utilized globally in several advanced military armor systems, including military aircraft, combat vehicles, helmets, breastplates and bullet-resistant vests. Spectra Shield is produced using the company’s proprietary shield technology, which unties strands of Spectra fiber with an innovative resin system. Spectra fiber is made of ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene material and has 60% higher specific strength compared to aramid fiber. The fiber exhibits exceptional internal fiber-friction, flex fatigue and vibration damping features. In addition, it provides high resistance to UV light, water and chemicals.