Minnesota-based conglomerate 3M has sent its new lightweight, mid-level protection helmet to law enforcement and special forces around the world for demonstrations and human-factors testing, a company official told Jane’s ahead of the Association of the United States Army’s annual conference, held in October in Washington, DC.
The F70 helmet was introduced in 2018 and has since been given to operators mainly in US law enforcement and European and Asian customers for trails and experiments, according to Terry Griffith, 3M’s global business manager for defence and law enforcement. The helmet has been designed with a night-vision goggle mount and mandible visor, and the company has seen interest in face protection from the mandible visor.
The helmet meets National Institute of Justice (NIJ) IIIA ballistic penetration protection standards, which includes protection against 9 mm rounds, the company said. It provides V50 fragmentation protection against 17 grain .22 calibre FSP at more than 840 m/s when tested in accordance with NATO STANAG 2920, 3M officials have told Jane’s .
The F70 uses a ‘boltless design’ so there are no through-holes in the polyethylene helmets. Drilling holes in polyethylene can degrade its protective properties so accessories would be mounted to the F70 via a screw into additional material on the helmet’s outer skin, instead of into the helmet’s shell.
In 2017 3M unveiled its Combat II Ballistic Helmet L110 for heavier protection, which was designed to protect personnel from blast fragmentations, certain rifle projectiles, handgun bullets, and blunt impacts. It provides protection against small arms bullets such as 7.62×51 mm FMJ (147 grain NATO M80 ball round) with a critical penetration velocity (V0) of 2,100 ft/sec (640 m/sec) and ballistic limit (V50) of greater than 2,400 f/s (>731 m/s), according to a company fact sheet. It provides fragmentation protection against 17 grain .22 cal FSP with V50 value greater than 3,281 f/s (>1,000 m/s) when tested in accordance to STANAG 2920, it added.
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