Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va. --
Marine Corps Systems Command has awarded a $51 million contract to provide Enhanced Combat Helmets to every Marine – a move that will help keep Marines safe throughout training and deployments.
Gentex Corporation, of Simpson, Pennsylvania, was selected to produce and deliver the helmets. Gentex was awarded a five-year, indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity contract.
Since 2014, Marines have only been issued the ECH when they prepare for deployment. This purchase will enable Marines to use the helmet during training as well, eliminating the need to trade helmets before and after deployments.
“Right now, we have three helmets fielded, but the future vision is a single helmet for all operating forces, which greatly simplifies logistics considerations and increases cost savings,” said Nick Pierce, team lead, Body Armor and Load Bearing Equipment.
Also used by the Army and Navy, the ECH provides the most ballistic protection beyond any other Department of Defense helmet. It exploits lightweight material technology to provide enhanced ballistic protection against select small arms and fragmentation. The helmet consists of a ballistic shell, suspension pads and four-point retention system. In addition to those components, a reversible helmet cover, night vision goggle bracket and attachment hardware will be provided for wear.
Helmets were tested as part of the source selection process in January 2017.
First Article Testing will begin in September 2017 and support delivery of the first order for 35,424 helmets. Fielding is scheduled for the spring of 2018 and will include I, II and III Marine Expeditionary Forces.
The ultimate future vision for the ECH is to safeguard Marines in training and deployments with one helmet, Pierce said.
“The ECH is the helmet of the future Marine,” said Maj. John Draper, ECH project officer. “It’s important for Marines to train with the same gear they will bring into combat.”