US Army’s $87.6m helmet contract brings some relief to embattled Avon Protection

September 10, 2021

Defence manufacturing group Avon Protection has won a contract worth up to $87.6m (£63.3m) over two years to develop and supply the US Army with its next-generation combat helmet.

Confirmation of the deal comes less than a month after shares in the Melksham-headquartered group slumped by 25% on warnings that a delay in orders, including for its M50 mask, as a result of procurement bottlenecks was likely to impact revenues for the next two years.

Avon, which specialises in protective gear, masks and breathing equipment for the military and first-responder markets, said the new contract was for its Integrated Head Protection System (IHPS) as part of a dual-sourced programme.  

This contract replaces a contract announced a year ago which was withdrawn following a competitor protest. 

The US Army has placed an order worth $1.3m for first article test samples of the IHPS, pictured, for delivery in the first half of Avon’s 2022 financial year.

The IHPS is 5% lighter than previous helmets while also having improved blunt force impact, passive hearing and ballistic protection. It is produced by Avon US subsidiary Ceradyne, the former 3M ballistic protection business which Avon bought early last year.

It was first used in 2019 by troops in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria.

Production under the contract will follow on from the existing low-rate initial production contract for the first generation IHPS which, following the extension announced on April 1, is due to end next year.

Avon Protection chief executive officer Paul McDonald said: “I am delighted that Avon Protection will continue to work with the US Army to deliver the next generation Integration Head Protection System. 

“This contract demonstrates our ongoing commitment to developing next generation ballistic protection systems and further strengthens the medium-term outlook.”


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