FM12 NBC Respirator
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An Italian military police officer using a FM12
|Type||Military, Law Enforcement|
|Place of origin||United Kingdom|
|In service||1997–2010|
|Used by||British Armed Forces, Singapore Armed Forces, Various Police Forces|
The FM12 was introduced in 2000 as an intended replacement for the standard issue S10 NBC Respirator in service from the 1980s. However the FM12 was never widely adopted by the military as it was deemed too similar to the S10 to warrant total replacement of all existing S10's. It was used however when an individual could not be found an S10 that fitted his face, due to strange facial dimensions. They can occasionally be found on the surplus market but are considerably rarer than the S10.
Two filter canisters are issued for the FM12, as with the S10; a light pressed metal type for riot control situations or training (marked with a painted red stripe or red tape), and a heavier plastic encased type for protection against NBC agents. The latter have a maximum shelf-life of 10 years, and the mask itself (the facepiece) of 20 years. The mask was designed around the S10, but has several design differences. The characteristics it shares in common with the S10 are the fail-safe drinking device, a SST(Secondary Speech Transmitter), and the ability to accept corrective lenses on the inside of the eyepiece.
However, the voice emitter and exhale valve cover is smaller than that of the S10, as are the lenses. The FM12 has an overall lower profile than the S10 and sits closer to the wearer's face. The FM12's drinking tube is also longer than that of the S10, making drinking easier while wearing the mask. The FM12 also has an inner mask to prevent fogging of the lenses. The 'ridge' present around the edge of the S10 is also absent from the FM12. The main noticeable difference between the FM12 and the S10 is the ability of some FM12's to mount 2 filters to the mask simultaneously, as was done by the SBS in the Gulf War. When only 1 filter is fitted to a mask that has the ability to accept 2 filters, a blanking plug must be used.
The harness of the FM12 consists of elastic strips, which connect to a mesh fabric piece on the back of the wearer's head. This change from the old style rubber straps on the S10 to the new elastic/fabric mesh was designed to enable the mask to be worn for longer periods of time without discomfort, and also to hold the mask tighter to the face for a better seal.
There is a counter-terrorism version of the mask known as the CT12 in use by the Special Air Service. The difference between the FM12 and the CT12 is that the CT12 has had the drinking straw removed and sealed at the factory. This is to reduce the overall weight of the respirator as the drinking straw is rendered useless in a counter terrorist situation. This variant is considerably rarer than the FM12, which is rare enough in itself. These are only rarely found on the collectors market, and usually have a high asking price.