Delivering first Aussie made ballistic eyewear for the frontlines

Delivering first Aussie made ballistic eyewear for the frontlines

Posted by Frontline Safety On 28th Mar 2024

As a specialised manufacturing and supply firm based in Newcastle, Frontline Safety Australia has produced the first batch of Australian made ballistic rated protective eyewear to be worn by defence personnel.

New hi-tech production equipment and safety testing systems helped to secure an Australian Defence industry contract for the manufacture of Ballistic Laser Ocular Protection System (BLOPS) eyewear in Australia.

CEO Jenny Hoffman says government backing has enabled the family-run firm to innovatively upgrade its production, quality and testing systems to successfully produce the first instalment of 6,000 units.

Frontline was awarded a grant in 2023 under the federal government’s Sovereign Industrial Capability Priority program which funded an investment in machinery for precision lens cutting, high velocity and high mass ballistic testing, and optical clarity and conformance testing.

“We have had an opportunity to do what hasn’t been done before, allowing us to develop considerable capability and know-how that’s resulted in a world-class manufacturing practice.”

The current in-service BLOPS model is the Wiley X Vapor Three Lens System which features polarised lenses, custom laser lenses, helmet-eyewear integration, and capability for prescription lenses. 

Designed and manufactured by Wiley X USA for the global market, the OEM have put their full support behind this Australian made initiative and are working closely with the Frontline team to ensure production, quality control and testing meets the high standards they are well known for. 

“Up until now we have had to import the complete product, risking supply and timing disruptions.”

“This recent investment means we’ll be able to fully manufacture 100% of the protective eyewear components in Australia before the end of year.”

In 2024 Frontline marks 25 years since Jenny, and husband and co-founder John Hoffman, identified a need to supply quality protective gear for police officers, first responders and other safety and rescue personnel needing specific products and workwear.

The company started its supply operation in 2000 before becoming the exclusive Australian importer and distributor for Wiley X protective eyewear in 2004. Frontline Safety has been a government contracted supplier of the current in-service BLOPS for the past 17 years and is now the Australian manufacturer under licence.

The latest batch of BLOPS is the fourth and most advanced upgrade in Frontline’s ongoing product development, innovation, and enhancement journey.

Frontline is also a supplier of personal protective equipment and apparel to the United Nations, Australian Border Force, Australian Federal Police, NSW, Victoria, and QLD Police, Australian Defence Apparel, and other defence and industry contractors. 

“Although only a small set-up we proudly demonstrate that not only can Aussie made be successful, but our products can be world-class when it comes to serving the country’s Defence needs.”