Revision Military Ltd. has a long-term contract to make a new generation of ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene helmets for the U.S. Army.
Revision was awarded a contract worth as much as $98 million over five years to produce the Advanced Combat Helmet Generation II. The new headgear, at nearly 2.5 pounds, weighs 22 percent less on average than current Army helmets, the U.S. Army estimates.
The ACHG-II helmets are lighter than those made from Kevlar but are expected to be just as strong. Kevlar, a fiber produced by DuPont Co., is five times stronger than steel and finds applications in a host of anti-ballistic, consumer and industrial products that take advantage of its high strength-to-weight properties.
Revision will produce the helmets at its Newport, Vt., facility, which was recently expanded. The company, based in Essex Junction, Vt., was awarded the contract in March.
The firm's last U.S. Army contract was in 2012, when it delivered 182,000 helmets. Since then it has invested millions of dollars in new production equipment and processes and hired teams of engineers to advance its composites and other technologies.
Revision is helping militaries around the world develop new generations of headgear that incorporate ballistic protection, electronics, optics, power and other features.
"In the years since Revision was last contracted by the U.S. Army, we've become a much stronger company and head systems technology innovator, securing helmet contracts around the world — including for the British Army's Virtus program — and emerging as the vanguard of the U.S. helmet industry," said Revision CEO Jonathan Blanshay in a news release.
"The partnership between the Army and industry is critical," said Lt. Col Kathy Brown, product manager for soldier protective equipment. The weight reduction should reduce a soldier's mission fatigue and enhance situational awareness and survivability.
Helmet lightweighting is part of the Army's goal of curtailing body armor weight as new features are incorporated.
"We went into Iraq back in 2003 and all this stuff started getting added to us like a Christmas tree: side plates, groin plates, neck plates," explained Lt. Gen. Joseph Anderson, the Army's deputy chief of staff, in a news release. The additions "weighed soldiers down and caused them to move almost 'like robots.'"
So far, Revision has delivered 1.1 million helmets to the U.S. military and another 300,000 internationally. The company claims it has not received a single warranty claim for product malfunction or defect. It further claims is the most experienced helmet company in the industry when it comes to processing UHMWPE.
Revision also runs an optical lens injection molding operation in Essex Junction and was formerly called Revision Eyewear. Several years ago the company changed its name to Revision Military to reflect its expanded product lines and capabilities, according to spokeswoman Kelly Krayewsky. From its origins in eyewear products, Revision has grown into producing face, head and torso protection, as well as energy storage and power management products.
Privately owned Revision has offices in Montreal, the United Kingdom and Luxembourg.
Revision officials declined to provide details of the helmet manufacturing process.