Personnel at the Combined Chemical Test Facility are preparing for the arrival of the Avon M53 protective mask in late May, developed with features to meet the requirements of Special Operations units.
Extensive testing is expected to begin in June at Dugway Proving Ground, the nation’s primary facility to test defenses against chemical and biological agents.
"The Avon M53 is highly regarded by users and agencies throughout the world due to its protective features," said Test Officer Andrew Neafsey. "We will aggressively challenge this mask in order to verify the high level of performance required."
The M53 is a variant of the currently issued Avon M50 mask, designed by the Department of Defense to meet the requirements of the Joint Services General Purpose Mask.
Like the M50, the M53 is designed to resist traditional chemical and biological warfare agents, select Toxic Industrial Materials (TIM), and particulates (including radioactive dust).
Among the features of the M53 variant is a wider field of vision, ballistic protection and scratch resistance of the eyescreen, and connection to either a canteen or hydration bladder for drinking.
The M53 is designed to work with most PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) without having to remove or change components. It can supply its wearer with filtered air from surroundings, tanks, air purifying respirator or rebreather.
The M53 is built by Avon Protection Systems of Cadillac, Michigan, a U.S. subsidiary of Avon Rubber of the United Kingdom that has been making respirators and protective masks since the 1920s.