The MSA Millennium is a full-face, CBRN approved respirator system. It is MSA's latest military grade gas mask based on the proven MCU-Series gas masks used by the US Air Force and Navy (as of 2002). It uses standard NATO 40mm filter canisters.
Designed for military, police and first responder use, the gas mask features a one-piece visor and swappable filter ports which allow the user to fire a rifle cheek-welded from either side of the mask without having the filter get in the way. It also features a selection of accessories that add application flexibility and allow for the accommodation of special user needs.
The MSA Millennium is currently (as of 2015) in use by various military, police and first responder units across the USA and in other countries across the world.
Brief History Edit
After the terrorist attacks of 9/11, the respiratory health issues encountered by the first responders (from all the dust and smoke) who didn't have adequate protection and the anthrax mails which followed shortly after, it was clear that there were inadequacies with the current equipment available to first responders. Because of this, and the ongoing threat of terrorist-deployed NBC agents, the US Government, Mine Safety Appliance (MSA) and related industries accelerated ongoing research on developing a new set of very stringent standards that would define protective clothing and respiratory systems. This would eventually be known as the "CBRN compliant" classification.
The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), which was new back then, first released the CBRN standard on March 7, 2003. The new standards were released in conjunction with tests and results derived by the U.S. Army Edgewood Chemical Biological Center. Chief among the standards that had to be met were prolonged resistance against NBC agents, mask penetration and permeation, field of view, equipment interoperability and ability of equipment to operate reliably (at least 15 minutes) in environments with very high concentrations of chemical agents (including hydrogen sulfide and nitride, which damages silicone-based materials and masks).
MSA, which was one of the industry leaders involved in the creation of the new standards, developed one of the first masks that would meet and exceed these standards. To simplify research and development, the mask's design was derived from the proven MCU-series respirators that they currently sold to the US Air Force and Navy. The resulting gas mask system, which used a very similar yet improved design and improved materials, would eventually be called the MSA Millennium.
Design and Materials Edit
The chief advantage the Millennium has compared to the MCU-Series, is in its use of Hycar rubber as the primary mask material instead of Butyl or Silicone. In order to pass CBRN requirements and tests, the Millennium needed to be made of a material that would not lose its integrity when exposed to hydrogen nitride and other corrosive blister agents. MCU gas masks are made of silicone, and although silicone is desirable due to its hypoallergenic properties, which is an issue for users with sensitive skin, it deteriorates when exposed to blister agents for extended periods. This resulted in the US Army using exterior butyl skins for the MCU and M40; to simplify decontamination and offer additional protection against these agents. CBRN certifications however, go a step further and demand the mask itself, not its accessories, to have these protective qualities. Since the US Army doesn't require CBRN approval on their masks (they have their own standards), this was not an issue for them.
Other materials include the usual MCU polycarbonate outserts. Available in both tinted and clear versions, the outserts double as a protective faceshield which stops high-velocity fragments and, acts as a shield against impacts and scratches. Additionally, unlike acrylic, the polycarbonate outserts provide more resistance to chemical corrosion.
MSA Millennium vs. MCU-Series Edit
Patterned after the MCU-Series gas mask, the MSA Millennium shares many similarities. It uses the same pattern voicemitter, same flexible lens and outserts, same style 6-point head harness and other replacement parts. Almost all accessories used by the MCU respirators work on the Millennium. The only exception would be the microphone jack on the MCU-2A/P, which is not useable in the Millennium due to the fact that the Millennium doesn't have a microphone jack in the voicemitter. This also applies to the MCU-Series masks being able to use Millennium accessories, including the new ESP-II voice amplifier.
Contrary to popular belief, the MSA Millennium is not a simplified, low-cost, "civilian" version of the MCU-Series masks, but is quite the opposite. Materials-wise, it is a massive improvement, and its upgraded accessories, compared to the older MCU accessories, present an all-around upgrade which make Millennium superior in many aspects. The visor material is made of an improved polyurethane piece bonded to the mask with an upgraded resin. This mostly prevented the MSA Millennium's lenses from turning yellow with age unlike the MCU-Series' lenses, which were one of its primary issues.
Package and Accessories Edit
The MSA Millennium can use a total of 41 accessories which include anything from ESP Voice amplifiers, alternate inner masks, spectacle kits, cover lenses (ultravue, ultra elite and advantage 1000), MCU outserts and a hood. Most of these accessories, such as the alternate inner masks (nosecups) have different sizes, thus, the huge selection. These accessories make the MSA MIllennium very customizeable and versatile.
The standard package of the MSA Millennium contains the following:
- MSA Millennium CBRN Respirator
- Plastic carry bag
- Accessories Flyer
- Port Removal Key (P/N 461828)
- Clear Outsert
- MSA Millennium Manual
- Clamshell Plastic Container
ESP-II Voice Amplifier Edit
The ESP-II audio projection unit is a voice amplifier system used by the MSA Millennium, MSA Advantage 1000 and is additionally compatible with the MCU-Series gas masks. It works by attaching to a gas mask's voicemitter and amplifies the user's voice (clips on the front). This solves the problem of a user's voice being muffled by the gas mask and allows the person talking with the amplifier to heard clearly. It's very useful in applications where there is plenty of ambient background noise, such as factories and facilities with active machinery.
The ESP-II is water resistant and uses two AAA batteries, which will last for 15+ hours of continued use. It replaces the older ESP voice projection unit of the MCU-Series masks, which uses a 9V battery and has a larger profile than the ESP-II. It is currently in use by various industrial, military and police units using compatible MSA gas masks.
MSA Website for MSA Millennium:
MSA Millennium Manual:
MSA Millennium Early Brochure:
ESP-II Voice Amplifier Flyer: