Minnesota-based conglomerate 3M has unveiled its new Combat II Ballistic Helmet L110 – designed to protect personnel from blast fragmentations, certain rifle projectiles, handgun bullets, and blunt impacts – and has booked orders from international customers, Cheryl Ingstad, business leader for 3M’s body armour, helicopter armour, and helmets, told Jane’s ahead of the Association of the United States Army conference.
“The helmet provides protection against select small arms projectiles including V50 ballistic limit value greater than 2,400 feet per second (greater than 731 meters per second) against the 7.62 x 51 mm M80 NATO ball projectile,” the company said in a statement.
The L110 is constructed with “ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene composites” and weighs about 1.5 kg, according to 3M.
The helmet was first sold to international customers several months ago and the company has so far seen “a lot of interest in the Combat II L110 – basically there’s a trend towards higher protection” but at lighter weight, and the L110 can stop select rifle bullets and high fragmentation protection, Ingstad told Jane’s .
“Especially with the helmets we are expanding our business overseas,” she added. The company is involved in tenders close to the award stage, or in negotiations towards contracts with “several countries”, Ingstad said.
Much of the market growth for helmets is in the mid-level protection category, and this covers 9 mm and mid-level fragmentation protection.
Accordingly, 3M next year is launching a new helmet in this category that will be lightweight with night-vision goggle mount and mandible visor, Ingstad said.
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