By Thomas P. Caldwell, InDepthNH.org
As people around the world rally in support of the Ukrainians fighting to maintain their sovereignty in the face of Russia’s attack on the nation, many have donated to provide humanitarian aid to the refugees. Some, however, are volunteering products and services to assist in the fighting. New Hampshire businesses are among them.
Raymond Bellia of Body Armor Outlet, LLC, in Salem, says he obtained an export license to allow his company to ship body armor and medical supplies abroad. Until now, BAO strictly focused on sales within the United States.
“Since the onset of the war, the worldwide demand for armor and medical supplies has skyrocketed,” Bellia said. “Raw materials and work shortages have played a role in the output of armor. Pricing has skyrocketed as well for raw materials, leading to an increase in product pricing from all of our suppliers.”
He said his business has had a spike in sales due to the war, and “We are working with select groups here in the U.S. to help arm the Ukrainian fighting forces, both military and civilian.”
BAO has grown from a small online distributor of ballistic armor to a company operating out of a 6,000-square-foot facility off Route 111 in Salem. It sells police and tactical supplies, uniforms, and clothing, as well as medical supplies, to law enforcement agencies around the country.
“We are fully committed to assisting the efforts of Ukraine in their unprovoked attack by Russia,” Bellia said. “We hope the armor supplied by BAO saves lives and keeps Ukrainian fighters in the fight to victory.”
He is not alone. U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen, D-NH, commented, “As a senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations, Armed Services and Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committees, I’ve closely monitored the impact of [Russian President Vladimir] Putin’s war on our business community amid supply chain challenges, as well as in support of Ukraine and the Ukrainian people as they defend their land, freedom, and futures. New Hampshire has long played a critical role in support of our national defense and security priorities, and we’re continuing to see that as our nation responds in support of Ukraine amid Putin’s unprovoked war.”
Shaheen is a primary co-sponsor of the Ukraine Democracy Defense Lend-Lease Act which passed the U.S. House on April 28 and went on to President Joe Biden for his signature. The legislation creates an expedited process for lending or leasing military equipment to Ukraine’s government.
Even without the lend-lease program in place, New Hampshire businesses are gearing up to assist in Ukraine’s defense.
Galvion, formerly known as Revision Military, has offices in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Montreal, Quebec, and Bristol, England. Having started as a supplier of protective eyewear, Galvion has expanded into protective armor and advance-concept integrated head systems for military and law enforcement personnel. Now the company is supplying helmets and armor for Ukrainian fighters.
According to its website, “We design, develop, and deliver protective armor and head systems, as well as innovative power supply and management solutions for military and tactical operators worldwide. We invest in the development of advanced-concept, integrated systems that will be critical to meet the challenges of tomorrow and beyond.”
There are other New Hampshire companies, operating under government contracts, that are unable to comment on possible assistance they are providing due to program security policies.