June 12 (UPI) -- Gentex Corporation has received a $51 million contract to provide for more than 35,000 Enhanced Combat Helmets to the U.S. Marine Corps.
The move is meant to standardize the helmet used by Marines in both training and deployment. Currently, Marines are only issued the ECH when they are deployed and older models are used in training.
"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," team lead of Body Armor and Load Bearing Equipment Nick Pierce said.
The ECH is also in use by the Army and Navy. It is meant to provide superior ballistic protection to older helmets along with better suspension pads and retention system.
First deliveries of the helmet will begin in Sep. 2017, with fielding beginning in spring of 2018. It will be issued to the I, II, and III Marine Expeditionary Forces.
"The ECH is the helmet of the future Marine," ECH project officer Maj. John Draper said. "It's important for Marines to train with the same gear they will bring into combat."