Lightness and stopping power with Dyneema® UD material

At Dyneema®, we’re always working to lighten the load on today’s soldier. How? By using Dyneema® unidirectional (UD) material, made from an ultra-strong fiber light enough to float on water. It’s a key ingredient in producing ballistic helmets that are trusted by the world’s most elite fighting forces: helmets that perform better while weighing less, raising the bar for headborne protection.

With lighter ballistic helmets, soldiers can perform their duty better than ever. They can move around faster. Carry more ammunition, water, or other essentials. And even improve their tactical performance thanks to unprecedented levels of comfort.

Dyneema® enables STRENGTHplus+

Mobility and survivability are closely intertwined – and with Dyneema®, you don’t need to compromise between strength and speed.


lightweight rifle-grade helmet


weight reduction compared to competitive materials


pressure on the neck and spine

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How are Dyneema® UD ballistic helmets made?

We start by using molecular engineering to create Dyneema®, the world’s strongest fiber™. Our cutting-edge method involves disentangling polyethylene molecules using our proprietary gel spinning process, heating and stretching the continuous filaments, then spinning these filaments into ultra-strong fibers.

To manufacture Dyneema® UD, we lay the fibers in a crisscross pattern at 0 and 90 degrees, with the rotated layers allowing for even and rapid distribution of energy. The result is a UD laminate material that’s used in the strongest, lightest, and most comfortable armor in the world. As a final step, we heat and compress layers of sheets of Dyneema® UD to produce ballistic helmets.

Using polyethylene for ballistic helmets has only been possible for 10 years – and in that time, Dyneema® has quickly become the leading material for head protection in militaries.

Head and shoulders above the rest

Armor strength is a critical factor on the battlefield – but lightweighting and ergonomics are equally important for mission success.

With their exceptional strength-to-weight ratio and our proprietary technology, helmets made with Dyneema® UD are right at the forefront of the latest military trends, checking all the right boxes for combat operators.


25% weight reduction compared to competitive materials

Weight tradeoffs in areas with less ergonomic impact on wearer

Unrivaled stopping power against ballistic threats, including rifle fire

Higher V50 ballistic limit than competitive materials

Outstanding protection against 9 mm rounds

Improved resin system for a smoother manufacturing process compared to standard UD helmets

Excellent lifetime – even in tough environments

Lightweight ability is survivability

Did you know that a US ground trooper carries up to 140 pounds of combat gear, including around 27 pounds of personal protective equipment? While this gear is vital for survival, heavy loads decrease soldier performance in multiple ways, from reduced situational awareness to increased fatigue.

But here’s the good news: Dyneema® fibers are light enough to float on water while being 15 times stronger than steel at the same weight. With these unrivaled qualities, Dyneema® supports the creation of body armor – including ballistic helmets – with the lowest possible weight, enhancing soldier performance in battlefield scenarios where every pound counts. 

Lightening the load

  • Low weight means soldiers can wear additional equipment, such as a visor

  • Less pressure on neck and spine

  • Thicker helmets improve ear-to-ear compression

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Peak performance against ballistic threats

Even with their exceptional lightweighting, ballistic helmets made with Dyneema® UD never sacrifice on protection – in fact, they offer the highest protective performance on the market.

Superior protection

  • Outstanding protection against handgun and rifle bullets

  • Fragment protection

  • High heat resistance

  • Combat-tested solutions used by elite armed forces

Protecting body and planet

Security isn’t just about protection from immediate threats; defending the planet for future generations is an equally important mission. That’s why we’re committed to reducing our carbon footprint in every aspect of our business and delivering end-to-end sustainability for Dyneema® products.  

To achieve this goal, we take responsible decisions at every stage of our products’ life cycles, from sourcing to manufacturing, use, and end of life.

Here are just a few examples of end-to-end sustainability


Some products are available with bio-based Dyneema® fiber, offering the exact same performance and specifications with a 90% lower carbon footprint than generic HMPE fiber.


100% of the electricity used in our manufacturing comes from renewable sources. 


The unique chemical properties of Dyneema® extend the life cycle of end products and reduce material usage over time.


We work with our customers to establish collection points for end-of-life products, ensuring they’re disposed of responsibly without resorting to incineration or landfills.

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The history of Dyneema®

Since the discovery of ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) in 1967, we’ve been on a journey of innovation to bring the benefits of Dyneema® to military and law enforcement personnel.


First commercialization of Dyneema®


Dyneema® enters the ballistics market with the


Dyneema® introduces Force Multiplier Technology


Launch of Dyneema® next-generation UD

The material of choice for elite armed forces

The world’s leading armed forces and law enforcement agencies place their trust in Dyneema®. And why wouldn’t they, when it offers unmatched protection plus enhanced combat effectiveness?

 Law enforcement agencies include:

  • New York Police Department

  • Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department

  • Chicago Police Department

  • Washington DC Metro

  • Baltimore City Police

  • Virginia State Police

 US armed forces applications include:

  • US Marine Corps Plate Carrier Generation III; Enhanced Combat Helmet; V-22 Osprey

  • US Army Modular Scalable Vest Generation II ; Integrated Head Protection System; Soldier Protection System

  • US Military Joint Tactical Vehicle

  • US Navy Mark VI Patrol Boat

  • Advanced Bomb Suit

Almost all NATO member states, including:

  • Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Lithuania, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Türkiye, UK, USA

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Putting Dyneema® UD to the test

Ballistic helmets made using Dyneema® UD have been subjected to rigorous, state-of-the-art ballistic tests in our technical centers across three continents. We test the performance of Dyneema® at multiple different levels – fiber, UD, and application – to ensure optimal performance. For application-level tests, we manufacture helmets and measure their ballistic resistance against a wide range of variables.

Multiple laboratory head set-up test

Dyneema® end users have different end-use protection requirements – and our helmet testing capabilities are just as diverse. To ensure we can provide the best technical support possible, we equip our ballistic laboratories with the most up-to-date tooling required by international standards.

Multi-hit, close-group, edge, and angle shots

We design our helmet protection technology for top performance in extreme conditions. Our tests results show stable protection against multiple projectile hits in a close area, security against shots that hit close to the edge of the helmet, and protection against threats from multiple different angles.

Ballistic performance tests – multi ammunition

Our tests confirm the outstanding anti-ballistic capabilities of Dyneema® materials and their stopping capabilities against a wide range of threats – such as small fragments, mild steel-core rifle projectiles, and armor-piercing rounds in composites that include a ceramic insert. In turn, we use the results to provide tailored solutions for our body armor manufacturing partners.

Backface deformation tests

At our ballistic laboratories, we’re able to test the level of damage sustained by the back side of armor upon impact. The results confirm the high energy absorption and distribution of Dyneema® materials, meaning our solutions meet and exceed US and international standards on backface deformation.

High-speed camera tests

As part of the expert support offered by the Dyneema® technical team, we use a high-speed camera to analyze the complex mechanics involved in stopping ballistic threats.

Contact our sales team

Lightweight ballistic helmets are a must in modern combat situations – but we know choosing the right material isn’t a decision you take lightly. Our specialists are always on hand to share their expertise, answer your questions, and help you find the best head protection solution for your needs.

Contact us
  • Purchasing for your law enforcement agency or defense ministry
  • Threat mitigation advice
  • Law enforcement agency presentation days

Meeting – and exceeding – international standards

Ballistic helmets made with Dyneema® UD are tested according to a variety of requirements across different countries, including the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) certification in the USA. In all these tests, we ensure that Dyneema®-based helmets meet and surpass certification standards. In fact, we’re recognized as offering the lightest solution for headborne protection.

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With our multiple manufacturing sites, protection is never far away

Dyneema® UD is manufactured in both the USA and Europe, with both territories using strategically resilient supply chains to keep production close to home.   

For the US market, Dyneema® is manufactured exclusively at our facility in Greenville, NC – a site that employs more than 400 US workers, of which 10% are military veterans. In addition, our Technical Service Center in Stanley, NC, supports US-based body armor manufacturers in next-generation product development. With these two US facilities, we ensure quality, consistency, and security of supply for our American customers, as well as no dependence on foreign materials, no disruption due to supply chain issues, and consistency and quality in manufacturing.

Meanwhile, our presence in Heerlen, the Netherlands, means we can deliver equivalent supply assurances for our European customers, with no change to our commitment to quality and reliability.


Design with Dyneema®

Do you work in designing or developing ballistic protection systems? Or maybe you’d like to test what Dyneema® UD has to offer? Our team would love to work with you to develop your ideal performance solutions, using our Dyneema® portfolio.

Design with Dyneema®

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In defense applications, protection is paramount. That’s why the world’s elite forces rely on the strength of Dyneema®.

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