Marine Corps Systems Command has awarded a $51 million contract to Gentex Corporation to provide the Enhanced Combat Helmet, or ECH, to every Marine.
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, according to a Marine Corps Systems Command press release.
“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, according to the release.
The Army fields the Enhanced Combat Helmet to soldiers for high-threat combat situations such as Iraq and Afghanistan. The ECH is about the same weight as the standard Advanced Combat Helmet but provides increased protection and is capable of stopping rifle rounds and fragmentation, Army officials maintain.
The ECH 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.
“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.”