Galvion wins major NSPA contract to supply NATO ballistic combat helmets

 29. 06. 2024      category: Interviews
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Galvion has only been on the market for 5 years, but builds on the well-known Revision Military brand with over twenty-two years of history. Galvion primarily develops high-end sophisticated helmets, including various accessories, which have been supplied to the armies and other branches of the armed forces of the UK, Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, Finland, Sweden, Germany, Poland, Canada and the USA. We spoke to Richard Coomber, Senior Vice President of Tactical Head Solutions, about Galvion, its product portfolio and customers.

Foto: Galvion získal významnou smlouvu NSPA na dodávání balistických bojových přileb NATO | Galvion
Picture: Galvion wins major NSPA contract to supply NATO ballistic combat helmets | Galvion

Can you tell us more about the history of Galvion?

In 2002, Revision Military was founded with protective eyewear as the basis of its portfolio. Over the years we have significantly expanded our focus to include head protection, power & data management and integrated systems. Then in 2019 we made a strategic decision, selling the Revison protective eyewear division with the remaining divisions continuing under the new name Galvion. Galvion's mission is to provide solutions that enhance the overall agility and survivability of the modern military and tactical operator. We design, develop and manufacture advanced head protection systems and power and data management solutions that provide faster, lighter and smarter connectivity for soldiers than ever before.

What sets Galvion apart from other helmet manufacturers?

We believe that the helmet must be a platform for integrating different data systems, among other things. Therefore, as well as improving the design, comfort and protection of the helmet itself, we are also focusing on the development and integration of technologies that enhance soldier survivability.

Regardless of material and design, our helmet system must offer its wearer optimal comfort while meeting the protection requirements that are critical to ensuring maximum soldier effectiveness. It must also offer the optimum basis for adding accessories and integrating other equipment.

That's why Galvion has invested millions of dollars to build a state-of-the-art Warfighter Lab that features advanced human performance and efficiency monitoring capabilities.

For the military, new product development is often done through traditional trial-and-error. This is the concept of a prototype, where a product is given to users, they run and test it, and then gather some feedback. Usually the reaction to a product is very subjective and not very scientific.

Our Warfighter Lab is designed to get scientific results that we can compare, analyze, and apply based on actual performance in use, as opposed to soldiers saying "what was better," "what was comfortable," or "what was unstable."

Thus, we can compare subjective feedback to data and then say: we can see your feeling about instability based on our data, which also shows us why this is the case. Then our teams of product engineers and experts can implement meaningful change that ultimately helps the soldiers on the battlefield.

The insights provided by this unique lab are unparalleled in the industry and invaluable as helmets continue to evolve - from what was originally purely passive protection to active integrated systems.

Who all are Galvion's customers?

We are a global company and have delivered more than 1.8 million helmets, even to the world's most demanding military units. We are very proud to supply large volumes of our helmet systems to friendly countries such as the UK, the Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, Finland, Sweden, Germany, Poland, Canada and the United States. In addition, our helmets have been selected by special military and police teams around the world.

Foto: Přilby byly mimo jiné vybrány také týmy speciálních vojenských a policejních jednotek po celém světě | Galvion
Picture: The helmets have been selected by special military and police teams around the world, among others | Galvion

At the end of 2022, you were awarded a NATO Support and Supply Agency (NSPA) framework contract. Can you give us more details about this act?

The framework contract is for our flagship Batlskin Caiman®, which is a ballistic helmet with accessories, and was awarded to us after extensive user trials conducted by the lead country, Norway, and overseen by the NSPA. The contract offers a simplified procurement process for any NATO country wishing to purchase through the NSPA and so far Norway, Finland, Sweden and Poland have chosen this process.

Foto: Přilba Caiman v konfiguraci pro NSPA | Galvion
Picture: Caiman® helmet in NSPA configuration | Galvion

The Batlskin Caiman® system comes in five sizes and features the latest APEX™ clamping system and lining, which is intuitively adjustable and allows for individual customisation to the user's needs. It's a platform that combines protection, expandability with additional accessories and overall lighter weight (even with accessories, the system weighs only about 1 kg). The Caiman® helmet is customisable for highly dynamic operations, with possible mission-specific accessories (visor, jaw protector, helmet covers, etc.), and an ever-expanding list of different components available through a framework contract.

You mentioned accessories. What exactly are these?

The Caiman® platform has been specifically designed from the outset to include various accessories and components that extend the capabilities of the system. We are committed to supporting our users by providing them with the most comprehensive helmet platform. In this context, we have recently announced our Batlchk™ program, through which we work with selected respected industry partners to design or manufacture passive and active accessories that can be integrated into our Caiman® platform, while of course maintaining the key features of the system, keeping the weight as low as possible, balancing, eliminating the risk of helmet entrapment by branches etc. and protecting the environment.

Some of the passive components we currently offer include equipment bags, cold weather liners, NVG holders, breathing masks and specially adapted helmet covers with intelligent cable routing.

Active components that function as individual items or as part of a Caiman® subsystem then include combat ID and IR optics, tactical lights, power systems, hearing protection, NVGs and thermal imaging. Our selected users are already working with us to develop the next generation of advanced integrations, including helmet-embedded data processing applications, battlefield management and soldier-to-soldier communications applications, and night vision goggles.

What is Galvion's support and service philosophy?

Even the most advanced systems are only usable if they are serviceable and serviceable over the long term. Our philosophy includes a commitment to extending the life of the system through so-called spiral upgrades, thus extending the life of the helmet through regular maintenance, repairs and refurbishment. We believe that our helmets must be serviceable for the life of the helmet. 

As our European user base continues to grow, we are also setting up a manufacturing hub in Gdansk, Poland to complement our existing international office in the UK. 

As we want to provide our global partners with the best services related to regional operations (logistics, supply chain, training, etc.), our expansion to the European continent was a necessary step. Among other things, the new facility will maintain inventory to shorten the supply chain. The Gdansk plant will also be able to upgrade, refurbish and maintain helmets already in service to ensure their continued functionality. Helmets can thus be inspected, refurbished, upgraded with more modern linings, a power system for NVGs can be added and then delivered back to the designated logistics centre or unit. We see this as a win-win situation: both for the procurers, who want to achieve maximum value from the product over its lifetime, and for the users themselves, who will receive regular helmet upgrades for greater comfort, stability and effective combat deployment.

 Author: Michal Pivoňka

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