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SOUTH AFRICAN M87 - early and late

Article about: Well, not nearly so much going on in the Composite forum as some of us might hope, so I'll make a bit of an effort. I've accumulated a number of new and interesting (yes, really, honest) com

  1. #1

    Default SOUTH AFRICAN M87 - early and late

    Well, not nearly so much going on in the Composite forum as some of us might hope, so I'll make a bit of an effort. I've accumulated a number of new and interesting (yes, really, honest) compos over the last year and haven't even summoned up the energy to photo and file them on CompoSite (which website of course you all know by now). This is a tiny gesture towards assuaging my own guilt.

    Anyway, here's the South African M87, produced locally in SA to a SA design (similarities to the PASGT are entirely coincidental and quite minor). SAPHI is in fact the SOUTH AFRICAN PITH HELMET INDUSTRIES and they were around for a long time as you might imagine, though they vanished some years ago, after morphing from the simple SAPHI to SAPHI 20000 then to being a part of Lamberet SA Pty (apparently vanished - no web presence) and then apparently becoming entirely overwriten by Ballistic Body Armour Helmets (Bullet Proof) - BALLISTIC BODY ARMOUR who still produce helmets but nothing even similar to the M87.

    There are two known versions of the M87, which are essentially identical except for provision for a faceshield in the second. Pics of the original first, which I have had for some years -

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    and now the later version with shield mountings at the side. This is the example I recently acquired.


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    Whether *all* or just some of the later production run had the shield fittings I do not know. Anyone?

    The M87 has been exported in its original form (with cosmetic changes like colour) to a variety of places (some even apparently to the Balkans during the 1990s wars) but the most interesting and unusual variant (and I am making assumptions here as I have no absolute proof) is one I posted here some time ago, a helmet exactly the same in form but with a much thicker shell and a great deal heavier. The curious will find it at Variant of South African M87 . I've not been able to find out anything more about it since.

  2. #2
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    Excellent information and pictures as ever Greg, you truly are the most passionate collector of composites I am aware of, many thanks for raising the profile of these often overlooked helmets.

  3. #3

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    Thats a great looking composite Greg,I don't collect them purely as I don't have any experiance with regards to what type/nation/even what decade they were used,should think these items could make up an entire lifetimes work on there own with all the differant variations,dont think the US M1 SECTION is faring much better.
    With Regards Jake.

  4. #4

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    just superb examples greg and the shield mount variant is very interesting, great to see this compo section have a little nudge it has been quiet here of late ,i have only one m87 example issued to the united arab emiratesClick image for larger version. 

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  5. #5

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    I have only seen photos of some of the export M87 - it seems the usual difference is only in the chinstrap and maybe the colour. Your UAE has a much simpler strap without the plastic push-clip. Other than that it looks - from your pics anyway - to be identical to the basic model.

    For convenience, here's a couple of pics of my massively heavy - 1986g as opposed to the normal 1214g - probable M87 variant, copied from CompoSite. There are other known examples which have the same colour, but not the huge weight change, which seems to be entirely down to a much thicker shell. Bafflingly strange object, no info anywhere.


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  6. #6

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    gosh greg that really is a thickset heavy weight composite ,the differances are quite remarkable perhaps special forces use allthough im clutching at straws here ,thanks for pointing out the chinstrap clip on your example do you know i never even noticed ,it looks very similar to the french f1 style thanks for showing a few more gems from your collection

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