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Army Recalls 44,000 Combat Helmets

The Army is recalling 44,000 combat helmets because of concerns that they offer substandard ballistic protection.

All the Advanced Combat Helmets are made by ArmorSource, formerly Rabintex USA.

"There is evidence that ArmorSource and Rabintex ACHs were produced using unauthorized manufacturing practices, defective materials and improper quality procedures which could potentially reduce ballistic and fragmentation protection," according to an All Army Activities message released Friday.

The Army-wide message orders an immediate inspection of all ArmorSource helmets.

The risk to soldiers wearing the helmets is still being determined, the Army said.

However, sample testing revealed that the helmets did not meet Army specifications. The matter is under investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice, according to the Army.

Army officials could not say where all the faulty helmets are, but it's likely that some of them are in the war zone, Army spokesman Lt. Col. Jimmie Cummings said.

"No one has gotten hurt that we know of," Cummings said. "We have sufficient numbers of helmets by other manufacturers in the Army's inventory, and they are being issued to soldiers worldwide and units that are in possession of the recalled helmets."

The recall constitutes 4 percent of roughly 1 million ACHs in the Army's inventory.

Army officials would not comment on how the service found out about the defective helmets and are unsure how long the faulty helmets have been in the inventory.

The Army adopted the Advanced Combat Helmet in 2002. It weighs about 3 pounds and is designed to protect soldiers from fragmentation and 9mm ammunition.

Currently, three other companies manufacture the helmet - Gentex Corp., BAE Systems and MSA.

ArmorSource is based in Hebron, Ohio.

The Army recalled 34,218 helmets made by Gentex in May 2009 after the company told the Army it believed the screws that attach the chinstrap and related parts to the helmet did not conform to Army contract specifications. Gentex alleged a subcontractor had falsified certificates of compliance related to the type of steel screws it furnished.

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