May 24, 2010
Soldiers whose helmets carry the ArmorSource label have been told to turn them in and exchange for an ACH from another manufacturer. The 44,000 defective helmets have been widely distributed, and the Army does not know where or how many are currently worn by troops in the field.
Since the helmet recall notice went out the night of May 13 to all Army forces, a number of helmets have been turned in by soldiers at the military base at Bagram in Afghanistan. The suspect helmets could also be on the heads of Air Force or Navy personnel. Up to 24,000 of the recalled ArmorSource helmets purchased by the Army were sent to the Defense Supply Center in Philadelphia, where they were distributed to the other services.
ArmorSource is one of four vendors that have produced 1.6 million ACHs for the Army, Air Force and Navy. The Marine Corps uses a different type of helmet, called the Lightweight Helmet.
The recalled ArmorSource helmets make up just 4 percent of the total ACHs in the Army’s inventory.
Army noncommissioned officers have been told to personally check all of their soldiers' helmets to look for the defective headgear. The Army’s central warehouses are also examining their ACH stocks to see if any are from ArmorSource. The ArmorSource label is located inside the helmet on the left, by the ear. Recalled helmets should be taken to the base central supply warehouse. All of the recalled helmets will be destroyed.
The defective helmets were produced between August 2007 and November 2009. The Army had contracted with ArmorSource for 102,000 helmets, of which 44,000 were fielded. Another 55,000 are in bonded storage and the Army refused delivery of an additional 3,000.
In December, the Department of Justice informed the Army that it was investigating UniCorps, which makes helmets for the Marine Corps but subcontracts the actual helmet construction to ArmorSource.
On Jan. 10, the DOJ told the Army it was expanding its investigation to include ArmorSource’s ACH and recommended that the Army retest the helmets in its inventory. Army officials went to the ArmorSource plant in Hebron, Ohio, to see firsthand how the company was addressing the issue of peeling paint, and what they saw there led them to issue a stop-work order on Feb. 2. Contract termination proceedings began on April 27. The ACHs cost $250 each.
On May 12, the Army received the preliminary results from the ballistics tests at Aberdeen, Md. On May 13, the Army issued the recall notice. Army officials said they could not comment on the details of the DOJ investigation.
Some of the 55,000 ArmorSource helmets in Army storage were pulled for additional ballistics testing at the Army’s test center in Aberdeen. The Army’s ballistics testing did not result in lethal penetrations but the helmet did not meet full Army standards.