ULBRICHTS Protection, a leading manufacturer of titanium-based helmets, demonstrated the efficiency of its products to an audience of 200 European and American professionals at the tenth annual Special Forces Workshop at Güstrow, Germany, 23-25 July. It was organised by Baltic Shooters – Frank Thiel and the State of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern.
A Kalshnikov-type assault rifle, using 7.62x39mm iron core ammunition, was fired at a titanium aramid helmet (VPAM 4+) which featured two new modules intended to bring the level of protection up to VPAM 6: the FORTIS front shield was reinforced in the forehead area and, "a prototype of the world’s first VPAM 6 visor," according to the company, was tested in public for the first time. Hits to both forehead and face were arrested and a potentially deadly impact of over 25 joules to the helmet carrier demonstrably prevented. The additional components were clearly able to reduce the impact of the Kalashnikov’s enormous firepower – over 2,000 joules and a projectile speed of some 720m/s – making a frontal head shot survivable.
“We have reached a new level in ballistic head protection,” commented ULBRICHTS Protection Managing Director, Georg Scharpenack. “Combining any ULBRICHTS titanium helmet with the front shield and visor shown here in Güstrow provides the lightest and most effective VPAM 6 head protection on the market. The two modules have resulted in a massive increase in the level of protection and due to their lightness provide a real option, not just for special units, but also for patrol officers.”
In order to illustrate the effectiveness of ULBRICHTS’ high-tech head protection, the helmet was placed on a soap head of the same type used in official testing to measure residual energy transfer to the target. In the forehead and face areas, barely perceptible deformations were visible, which corresponds to a low residual energy of under 5 joules. The Güstrow result therefore corresponds almost exactly to the existing results for the FORTIS head shield from the official test conducted by the Beschussamt Mellrichstadt. Stopping the projectile is the main task, while the survival criterion is to reduce the maximum residual energy to a value of less than 25 joules, in accordance with the VPAM HVN 2009 guidelines – since that is the only way to ensure effective ballistic head protection.
On the third day of the workshop, the various special units competed against each other in several exercises. This year, ULBRICHTS Protection sponsored the Extra Challenge, in which teams of two officers had to master a parkour (a training discipline involving unassisted movement across complex obstacles, derived from military obstacle course programmes), encountering a variety of obstacles and conducting target practice – well protected by a HOPLIT F 1000 Hybrid ULBRICHTS titanium helmet (VPAM 4+).
The prize for the winners of the ULBRICHTS Challenge was a ZENTURIO model Special Deployment Commando titanium helmet with a very special paint finish. This unique piece, made by Formula 1 helmet designer Jens Munser, was specially designed for the occasion. The helmet shell incorporates various symbolic design elements relating to the police, such as the “thin blue line” as a distinctive and internationally-known mark for policemen. The colour blue stands for the individual officer who separates the ‘good’ lower part from the ‘bad’ upper part and puts his or her life on the line in dangerous situations. Another notable feature is the motifs of Milpicture photographer Tom Weber incorporated on both sides of the helmet. “Special Forces officers operate at the highest tactical and physical levels in this area, much like Formula 1 drivers. With this special ZENTURIO, we not only wanted to reward the performance of the best team in our Challenge, but also to recognise the commitment of all special forces,” explained ULBRICHTS’ Strategic Account Manager, Lothar Schuster.
From now on, this extraordinary titanium helmet will be awarded annually as a challenge cup. It will be held by a South German Special Deployment Commando until the Special Forces Workshop next year.