The Finnish Defence Forces (FDF) are in the process of ordering new infantry helmets via the NATO Support and Procurement Agency (NSPA) in Luxembourg, according to a recent press release by the Finnish Ministry of Defence (MoD).
Specifically, the new Finnish contract is for the Caiman helmet system produced by Galvion. The Caiman helmet is available in several different sizes and also uses an adjustable design to ensure a correct fit for the user: something that is extremely important to wearer comfort. The helmet weighs around 0.7 kg, depending on size, and offers ballistic protection up to Level NIJ 0101.06 IIIA, meaning protection from high-powered handgun ammunition fired from long-barrelled handguns, as well as general protection against the bumps and blows inevitable as part of a soldier’s life.
The Caiman helmet uses a cut-down design that trades slightly reduced coverage for reduced weight and less intrusion on the wearer’s field of vision. The Caiman also accommodates the attachment of accessories, such as modern night-vision equipment, which was an important requirement for the FDF, according to the MoD press release.
As previously reported in December 2022, the NSPA awarded a so-called framework contract to Galvion, which defines unit prices as a function of quantity for defined periods (typically one year) of the contract’s three-year duration. The framework contract allows NSPA member nations, including in this case Finland, to place ‘call-off’ contracts against the framework for their specific requirements. The fact that the prices are known in advance makes logistic and financial planning easier for both national armed forces and for the contractor, while the fact that the contractual terms and conditions are already in place and agreed means that the call-off contracts can be fulfilled within a very short timeframe.
In addition to the helmets themselves, Finland’s contract will also include accessories and spare parts, with its total value given as around EUR 25 M. The first deliveries are expected in the autumn of 2023.
This rapid procurement of new infantry helmets forms part of a larger plan to upgrade and improve the FDF: a plan that has been accelerated as a consequence of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and Finland’s subsequent accession to NATO.
Thomas Lauge Nielson
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