Protective Helmet Suspension and Retention System

Award Information
Agency: Department of Defense
Branch: Navy
Contract: M67854-15-C-6513
Agency Tracking Number: N142-085-0421
Amount: $79,848.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: N142-085
Solicitation Number: 2014.2
Solicitation Year: 2014
Award Year: 2014
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2014-11-05
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2015-09-04
Small Business Information
303 Bear Hill Road, Waltham, MA, 02451
DUNS: 078513593
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Kristen LeRoy
 Group Leader, Biomedical
 (781) 373-1930
Business Contact
 Stephen Mattox
Title: Director, Finance & Admin
Phone: (781) 373-1930
Research Institution
The Marine Corps is preparing to field the new Enhanced Combat Helmet (ECH) which replaces the Advanced Combat Helmet (ACH). The ECH has an updated shell made of lightweight polyethylene material that provides a higher degree of protection than Kevlar used in ACH, but the suspension and retention system have not been updated to account for the increased amount of ballistic energy that these improved helmet shells are now able to withstand. Another issue with the current suspension and retention systems is that they are integrated into the entire helmet system with the chinstrap attached to the shell by bolt holes. These bolt holes are the Achilles heel of shell, however, serving as a funnel for bullets that strike the helmet within a one inch radius of a bolt hole.

Our team has a practical understanding of the evolution of helmet systems, particularly from Gentex Corporations early work in this area to date. In this proposed Phase I effort, the Vivonics and Gentex team will complete development and initial testing of a lightweight, multi-impact, mixed media ventilated liner that provides both impact protection and comfort and that is not affected by temperature, altitude, or moisture. Our approach recognizes the value in producing a helmet suspension and retention system the can be incorporated into the current inventory of shells with bolt holes, but maintains a firm eye on the future of shell technology which will eliminate these holes and their associated weaknesses. Vivonics serves not only as a system integrator but also brings to the design novel moisture wicking technology as a means to manage heat and perspiration buildup inside the helmet.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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