DSM Dyneema (Stanley, N.C., USA) announced on March 15 that its Dyneema HB80 unidirectional (UD) composite played a critical role in Ceradyne Inc.’s (Costa Mesa, Calif., USA) successful development of the new Enhanced Combat Helmet (ECH) for the U.S. Marine Corps and Army.
Compared to the existing Advanced Combat Helmet (ACH), which is made with aramid fibers, the new ECH with Dyneema HB80 provides protection and exceeds the ECH program requirement for better fragmentation performance than ACH, all without increasing helmet weight. HB80 is also the only material that passes the stringent ECH testing.
All ECH helmets will be manufactured by Ceradyne at its site in Irvine, Calif. Dyneema HB80 composite is produced in the United States at DSM Dyneema’s Greenville, N.C., facility.
“The ECH program represents a major advance in helmet technology that can deliver enhanced superior protection for our troops,” says Dr. James Zheng, chief scientist soldier protective and individual equipment, PEO Soldier, United States Army. “Our close collaboration with leading industry partners such as Ceradyne and DSM Dyneema enabled us to utilize their valuable technological expertise and support, resulting in the new ECH helmet.”
“The ECH program exemplifies the importance of DSM Dyneema’s continuing leadership in materials science and our commitment to innovation to meet the ever-higher requirements for personal protection,” says Shitij Chabba, vice president of marketing and sales for DSM Dyneema. “Clearly a step-change in materials technology, Dyneema HB80 has achieved a major breakthrough by providing exceptional performance without increasing the helmet’s weight. We are extremely proud of our contributions to the success of our customer, Ceradyne, in helping the U.S. Marine Corps and Army reach this critically important milestone.”
￼Dyneema HB80 has undergone extensive ballistic and secondary properties testing as part of the ECH development initiative and reportedly provides good ballistic and structural properties. HB80 also presents armor manufacturers with opportunities to reduce the weight of ballistic inserts and shields that protect against high-speed fragments and rifle rounds.
“We are very pleased to have received the initial ECH award and look forward to the important role we will play in the manufacture of the new high-performance ECH,” says David Reed, Ceradyne’s vice president and president, North America Operations. “Capitalizing on the outstanding properties of the HB80 UD composite, Ceradyne has made a quantum leap forward in giving our Marines and soldiers leading-edge head protection on the battlefield.”