In October, St. Paul, Minnesota-based conglomerate, 3M, announced that it will be filling a $27 million contract to supply 37,500 new and improved helmets for the U.S. Army and Navy. The order, added to the previous 77,000 helmets ordered for the U.S. Marines, brings the total contract value to $107 million. The improved technology for the helmets will provide a better defense against Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) for Marines, Soldiers and Sailors.
The orders for 3M’s Enhanced Combat Helmets provide military personnel with protection against head injury from blunt impacts and ballistic threats. As part of the combined order, 3M will deliver 77,000 for the Marine Corps, 35,000 helmets for the U.S. Army, and 2,500 for the U.S. Navy.
Popular Science magazine listed the new helmet technology as one of the 100 greatest innovations of 2013. The Enhanced Combat Helmet is designed and manufactured by Ceradyne, Inc., a 3M company. So far, it is the only helmet that has passed the Marine Corps Enhanced Combat Helmet specification protocol. The helmet provides over 35% improved ballistic fragmentation protection, compared to others currently in use, without any added weight.
With as many as 18% of combat Veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan seeking treatments for traumatic brain injury, each military branch is seeking ways to decrease the number of similar injuries going forward. The upgrade in helmets is just one of many measures that is being taken. The DOD and each military branch are independently researching ways to prevent TBI in the field, while improving the methods of diagnosing and treating TBIs in an attempt to lessen the long term effects.
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Military Connection: New Helmets to Combat TBI: By Debbie Gregory