MSA will unveil a new line of aramid advanced ballistic body armour, marking the company’s entree into the estimated $140 million market for law enforcement ballistic protection.
The new line of ballistic vests, which will be marketed and sold under the brand name ForceField, were showcased at the annual conference of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, which began on Sunday in Miami.
The ForceField Body Armour line will feature two concealable ballistic vests and one over-the-uniform tactical vest designed for SWAT applications.
Ron Herring, vice president and general manager of MSA’s Safety Products Division noted that all MSA vests exclude the use of Zylon fibre, the ballistic material that has been the subject of scrutiny and numerous lawsuits throughout the law enforcement community. In August, the National Institute of Justice (NIJ), which tests and certifies ballistic body armour, removed all certifications for ballistic vests containing Zylon. This decision was made following tests the NIJ conducted on more than 100 used vests containing Zylon, which exhibited a failure rate of 58 percent.
Instead, the MSA line will feature vests made of DuPont Kevlar and Honeywell GoldFlex aramid products, two proven and highly reliable ballistic materials. Other differentiating features include an innovative concealable carrier design that enhances user comfort and stability, a Tri-T Comfort System that pulls moisture away from the body to improve comfort, and a patent-pending Armour-Latch Closure that provides reliable front-to-back overlap while allowing one-handed adjustment.
MSA’s expertise in ballistic protection has gained recent recognition because of several ballistic helmet contracts secured with the U.S. Army. The company’s Advanced Combat Helmet (ACH) is now the standard of issue for the Army and has been credited with saving several lives in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The company is deploying the same resources for its ballistic body armour as it does for the ACH, which includes three ballistic testing labs, a staff of PhDs specializing in materials science and dozens of engineers dedicated to safety.
“”Our materials science and engineering capabilities are differentiating assets for MSA in this market,”” Mr. Herring said. “”With these resources MSA has the opportunity to improve product testing processes in ways that ensure compliance with NIJ standards and ultimately provide police officers with a higher degree of confidence in the product they’re wearing.””
The ForceField line of ballistic body armour complements MSA’s already broad range of products geared for law enforcement applications. In addition to ballistic vests, MSA offers a law enforcement version of the Advanced Combat Helmet, thermal imaging cameras, hand-held and transportable hazard detection instruments and a broad range of respiratory protective equipment – including the first gas mask to receive government approval for protection against chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear agents.
“”Our goal is to protect the protectors from head to toe, with helmets, body armour, instrumentation and respiratory protective devices that deliver superior performance and reliability,”” Mr. Herring said. “”We look forward to meeting the future body armour needs of police departments in the U.S. and around the world.””
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