Impertech began manufacturing CBRN equipment during the First Gulf War, when it responded to assisting the national Israeli effort against chemical threats coming from Iraq. Its clients include major OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) from all corners of the globe. CBNW Deputy Editor David Oliver talks to Asaf Hazut, VP & Head of Defence at Impertech.

CBNW: Could you provide a short history of Impertech and how and why it became involved in the CBRN market sector?

AH: Israel is regularly under a relatively high threat level. Therefore, by virtue of a government decision, Impertech is assisting the State of Israel in developing advanced protection products and maintaining active production lines at all times. So, in the event of a CBRN attack we can provide protection to the entire population. In recent years, we have begun to provide protective equipment to governments and military organisations at the international level, among them countries such as the USA, France, Singapore, and more.

CBNW: How many staff does Impertech have and how many are involved in research and development?

AH: Impertech employs over 100 people in all the production, operation and headquarters departments. Our development department includes mechanical engineers, project managers, quality assurance managers, materials engineers and we operate a test lab in house.

Our engineers graduated from the IDF (Israeli Defence Force) and as such, they bring a deep understanding and knowledge of the needs and requirements of the fighters in the field. They translate this knowledge with great talent and synchronised teamwork into important developments and registered patents.

CBNW: What are the main military and civil products you offer the CBRN market?

AH: We manufacture the Simplex gas mask, a solid and popular mask which was distributed to millions of civilians in the Gulf War. Our Sapphire hood is used by the military, first responders and special forces. We manufacture blowers for military and civilian use, anti-aircraft filters, and a unique product is the Quartz – the only gas mask in the world that is suitable for children aged one year to 13.

CBNW: What are the benefits of the Quartz kit, and who needs it?

AH: Quartz is a children’s mask that includes a hood and a blower. Its design is comfortable, colourful and non-threatening, so children connect with it easily and wear it willingly. It is lightweight and very convenient to use. The Israeli Army purchases a significant amount of this mask every year. The American government and other military and civilian organisations buy them too, along with civilians worldwide who prepare protection gear for the whole family to protect against CBRN events.

CBNW: Can you detail the advantages of your latest products, the ISET-76 have over your competitors?

AH: Respiratory and skin CBRN protection systems that exist today were developed over many years, or even decades ago – and they’re suffering from all sorts of disadvantages. Designs are old fashioned and some are uncomfortable, expensive, heavy or cumbersome. Some of them suffer from serious design mistakes and malfunctions that affect users’ comfort and safety.

Impertech, which has been manufacturing CBRN protection equipment for more than 30 years, has taken on the task of bringing innovation and technological advancements to equip the soldiers of the future with safer and more comfortable protection gear. Thanks to our close relationship with the Israeli Army and to our intimate knowledge of physical needs of fighters, we were able to map the failures in the existing systems and develop the most revolutionary solutions. As experienced rubber manufacturers, we developed patented manufacturing processes that enabled us to provide more effective production processes which lowered product costs and enhanced users’ safety.

ISET76 is a complete set of protective equipment that consists of an advanced gas mask, a silent blower and there are more exciting innovations that will be revealed in the near future. The IM76 gas mask solved most of the problems that exist in current masks and added new standards of safety and comfort to them. It is a lightweight, comfortable, ethnomorphic mask, with a wide field of vision.

The mask fits all kinds of facial structures, and it solved important safety issues by developing a patented mouth-nose cap that reduces significantly the danger of material breaches. The IM76 has a speech membrane and an exhaust system for fluid drainage, and a set of accessories that makes it modular budget-wise and can be added to enhance comfort.

The IB76 is a silent blower that has such a wide range of innovations that we believe it will contribute to changing work protocols in contaminated areas. The blower is lightweight, comfortable to wear on the back, on the waist or on the hip, it is flexible and adapts itself to the outline of the body of the soldier carrying it.

The blower has a digital display and battery indicator. The battery can be easily changed during operation so that it allows more time to work in the field without the need to return to base to change batteries. The blower has various elements that are protected by patents, and it uses rubber components that enable maximum silencing of the blower, in a way that contributes both to communication between the fighters and to the secrecy of the force, when required. The blower is controlled electronically using an ON/OFF button on the smart hose. Electronic connections run through the hose to the gas mask and charge communication means on the field.

CBNW: What does the initial ISET76 stand for?

AH: The number 76 is a tribute to the legendary 76th Battalion of the Israeli Army which outlined the Israeli strategy against CBRN threats. Its mission was to respond in the event of a use of chemical warfare in battle or chemical attacks. We decided to commemorate the legacy of this important battalion in our product series. The letter ‘I’ of course refers to the name of the company Impertech, but It also indicates our affinity to the State of Israel.

We are all former IDF soldiers and as citizens of the State of Israel, we feel honoured to be contributing to the development of protective gear, so that if all Israel’s efforts to bring peace fail and war is forced upon us – at least we know that we did everything in our power so that our soldiers and first responders return home safely.

Mr. Asaf Hazut is VP & Head of Defence at Impertech. He is a senior IDF officer (in reserve) and has over 25 years’ experience in the field of CBRN.