NEWMARKET, Ontario—AirBoss of America Corp.’s Defense business remains on the fast track when it comes to the production and sale of its wide range of protection products used by the military, first responder, law enforcement and other forces globally.
Throughout October, a span of less than a month, the company was awarded four sizable contracts, two from the U.S. Department of Defense, the third from the Canadian Department of National Defense and the fourth from the Australia Defense Force.
Combined, the four pacts, once fulfilled, are worth more than $120 million plus any potential revenue from two in-service support contracts the company has with two of the countries.
On Oct. 1, the Newmarket-headquartered firm received an indefinite demand, indefinite quantity contract from the U.S. Department of Defense for the manufacture of up to 1.62 million pairs of the firm’s AirBoss Molded Glove, a chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) protective product.
The contract consists of an initial base year and two option years. It’s worth about $36.5 million for the CBRN protective hand wear, assuming that all the gloves covered by the pact are ordered.
In the past, the U.S. Department of Defense has needed the maximum amount of the products ordered from the company, AirBoss President Lisa Swartzman said in a recent interview.
Thus far, AirBoss Defense, which is part of the firm’s Engineered Products segment, has received two orders for a total of 540,000 pairs of AMGs, worth about $11.4 million, as part of the pact.
Delivery of the initial orders is expected to be from the fourth quarter of 2018 through the fourth quarter of 2019. The firm said the AMG was designed to provide superior protection against CBRN agents and numerous toxic industrial chemicals. The glove provides optimal fit, comfort, dexterity and tactility, and fully integrates with all currently fielded CBRN suits, it said.
There has been widespread adoption of the AMG globally over the last decade, Swartzman said, adding that during that period the AMG has been used by 40 countries, with more than 4.6 million pairs sold for aggregate proceeds of about $108 million. All of those countries are part of the NATO bloc or western countries, she said.
The firm and the DOD agreed to another pact on Oct. 23 to manufacture up to 198,240 pairs of extreme cold vapor barrier boots. AirBoss said the contract consists of an initial base year, one option year and is expected to be worth up to an aggregate amount of $51.5 million, assuming all the boots are sold.
Deliveries under the contract are expected to start in the fourth quarter of 2018.
On Oct. 10, the Canadian Department of National Defense awarded AirBoss Defense a contract that calls for the company to produce and supply up to 77,800 of its newly commercialized Low Burden Mask and up to 155,600 of its recently developed mask canisters.
It’s the first adoption by a major military of AirBoss Defense’s LBM, which was designed and developed to be the world’s most advanced gas mask, featuring a state-of-the-art lens, optical viewing area, improved fit and reduced breathing resistance, according to the company.
The Joint Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, General Service Respirator (J CBRN GSR) contract with Canada is expected to be worth up to an aggregate amount of about $22.7 million plus any additional revenue garnered from an eight-year in-service support contract that covers the supply and maintenance of spare parts, according to Gren Schoch, AirBoss chairman and CEO.
He said the intention of the J CBRN GSR project is to replace all older C4 CBRN gas masks and C7A canisters—which also were made by AirBoss and are now being used by Canadian forces—with the new, superior LBM CBRN respirators and mask canisters.
The project’s primary objective is to procure sufficient respirators to equip Canada’s air, land and maritime forces, including specialized units.
AirBoss Defense’s contract with the Australia Defense Force actually is in partnership with Leidos Australia Pty Ltd.
Under the pact, AirBoss will make and supply its gloves, over boots and the recently commercialized LBM (the line’s second major adoption) as part of the defense unit’s Phase 1B of the Land 2110 program. This will provide protection to deployed ADF personnel, assigned coalition personnel and designated civilians, both offshore and within Australia, against CBRN threats, including environmental hazards, the company said.
Estimated value of the contract is $11 million, plus any revenue from an initial five-year support pact. Deliveries of the products are expected to begin in 2019 and continue through 2023.
These contracts follow on the heels of a strong 18-month growth period for the AirBoss defense business. After a down 2016 when military spending was in a lull, revenues for the unit jumped 45.3 percent to $32.7 million. And for the first six months of 2018 defense sales climbed 77.5 percent to $22.5 million.
AirBoss, which consists of a group of complementary businesses, combines compounding technology and engineering expertise to create goods for customers globally.
Its Engineered Products segment is a global leader in the manufacture and supply of life saving goods, including CBRN personal protective products for the military, first responder, medical, law enforcement, fire and industrial sectors. The firm is also a leader in the production of anti-vibration products for North American automotive markets.
AirBoss has been supplying the U.S. defense department gloves, footwear and other CBRN protective products—primarily gloves and boots—for decades. Swartzman noted that the company recently completed fulfilling a contract with the department that was awarded in 2015.
The company’s other segment, Rubber Solutions, is one of North America’s biggest custom rubber compounding companies, with the capacity to process about 400 million pounds annually. The segment also is a maker of calendered and extruded products for a broad range of applications.