Honeywell have announced that it has completed the delivery of advanced ballistic materials that will be used in the development of next-generation combat helmets for the U.S. Army.
The company has delivered 218 helmets containing advanced Spectra Shield and Gold Shield ballistic materials that the Army will look at to help set new helmet performance requirements. The helmets are designed to be 16 to 24 percent lighter than the helmets U.S. soldiers currently wear, and provide increased ballistic and non-ballistic performance against handgun rounds and fragments from improvised explosive devices.
Helmets are one of the most complex parts of a soldier’s protective equipment, and must be designed to protect against projectile impacts and shockwaves from improvised explosive devices (IEDs). Ballistic materials designed for helmets must have the strength to perform when molded into a curved shape.
Spectra Shield is manufactured using Honeywell’s proprietary shield technology, which bonds parallel strands of Spectra fibre with an advanced resin system. In addition to Spectra fibre, Honeywell adapts this technology to other fibers, including aramid.
Spectra fibre is made from ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene using a patented gel-spinning process. The fibre exhibits high resistance to chemicals, water and ultraviolet light, and has excellent vibration damping, flex fatigue and internal fibre-friction characteristics. The fibre also has as much as 60 percent greater specific strength than aramid fiber.
In addition to armor, Spectra fibre is used in a variety of industrial applications, including high-performance mooring rope, industrial slings, fishing line and security netting, as well as curtains that protect windows and doors during hurricanes.