DSM Dyneema wins combat helmet contract

DSM's ultrahigh molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) unidirectional materials have been chosen for use in next-generation combat helmets for military and law enforcement applications.

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DSM Dyneema (Stanley, N.C.) reported on Oct. 4 that it has been awarded the contract for development of new ultrahigh molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE)-based Dyneema material solutions for the next-generation improved combat helmet. DSM Dyneema has been focusing on research and development of new series of materials to substantially lighten the load for military and law enforcement.

DSM Dyneema’s development proposal was selected after a full and open solicitation. The award is aimed at the development of new unidirectional (UD) materials that can help in the design of an improved combat helmet with superior ballistic performance. “DSM Dyneema is proud to receive the development contract. We are committed to innovation and to deliver highest levels of protection against new and ever-emerging threats“ said Ken Dooley, senior vice president for DSM Dyneema Life Protection Americas.

In June 2009, DSM Dyneema launched Dyneema HB80, a UD composite that meets the joint U.S. Army and Marine Corps challenge to increase the ballistic performance of current advanced combat helmet without increasing weight. Just more than a year later, the product has proven to be the ballistic UD material of choice for both body and vehicle armor applications where ultralight weight and enhanced performance are required.

All major helmet manufacturers are already working with DSM Dyneema in the Enhanced Combat Helmet (ECH) program. Dyneema HB80 has been extensively tested and evaluated in different helmet constructions and is currently in the final development testing phase of ECH program. “We understand the increased sense of urgency and need for new high-performance materials that can provide enhanced protection at reduced weight” said Dooley. “This becomes especially valuable at higher altitudes, such as Afghanistan, where reducing the soldier’s load helps with mobility and can save more lives.”