Army Tests “Tropical” Uniforms in Hawaii


Written by W. L. Gore & Associates

An increase in jungle missions has prompted the Army to develop new Army Combat Uniforms, currently undergoing trials in Hawaii, Army Times reported. The news outlet recently talked with officials from Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center (NSRDEC) about their progress on these “tropical” outfits.

For the past 18 months, the Army has enlisted thousands of soldiers to test out potential uniforms in hopes of finalizing their product by the beginning of the fiscal year 2018. The ideal suit will be lightweight, quick-drying, comfortable and durable. NSRDEC and Program Executive Office Soldier are working with the 25th Infantry Division at their jungle school in Hawaii.

Soldiers were asked to test a “stripped down” version of the ACU, which included reduced pocket, nylon patches for the knees, the elbows and the seat, reinforced seams, and buttons instead of zippers. The Army is also testing a blouse with mesh vents along the shoulders.

Boots could be left unbloused thanks to the extra mesh material added at the base of the pant leg, which protects soldiers from insects and leeches. Other components currently under evaluation include a knit yoke that absorbs sweat from the lower back and a self-cooling combat shirt. The tests used a control group outfitted in the standard flame-resistant ACUs.

The Army is also testing eight separate materials for use in the new uniforms. Most consist of nylon-cotton blends, although some contain variant fibers such as extra-durable T420HT nylon, Aramids, and Cocona polyester, a material derived from coconut husks.

The NSRDEC hasn’t completed their analysis of the lab data and qualitative feedback yet. However, the Army Times was able to speak with soldiers about their experience during the trials. A 50/50 nylon-cotton blend and a T420HT nylon blend were notable favorites.

The Army’s standard combat boots are also on the chopping block because soldiers have complained the footwear holds too much water. In response, the NSRDEC has designed and is now testing five puncture-resistant alternatives — two with thick soles and three with thin “Panama” soles. They plan to present results to the PEO Soldier next winter.

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The End of “Blueberries” Tops List of Naval Dress Code Announcements


Written by W. L. Gore & Associates

Today the Navy announced plans to discontinue it’s Working Uniform Type I, mockingly referred to as “aquaflage” and “blueberries,” Kit Up reported.

In its place, sailors will don the new NWU Type III, a forest-green camouflage developed by Naval Special Warfare Command. Sailors must transition to Type III by October 2019.

Aside from its unpopular pattern, Type I cammies weigh considerably more than its replacement.

The shift came as part of a series of apparel changes announced today by Naval officers. Beginning in 2020, Cold Weather Parkas will replace the current service dress uniform and other Naval outwear will become optional. Female chiefs can now wear men’s khaki pants without a belt and with their blouse tucked in. Women’s khaki pants should be available for purchase by the end of 2017.  Additionally, service sweatpants will soon sport a “NAVY” logo in reflective silver lettering and sailors may add select patches to their service uniforms at their commander’s discretion.

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Three Game-Changing Projects for the Textile Industry


Written by W. L. Gore & Associates

Thanks to big leaps in innovation and technology, the textile industry has sharply rebounded from its pre-recession slump. Need proof? The Department of Defence recently invested $300 million in the Advanced Functional Fabrics of America (AFFOA), a nonprofit textiles innovation hub housed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Textile Insights, a trade magazine, recently published an article profiling three of the cutting-edge projects pushing the industry forward:

 

  1. Dupont’s new line of conductive ink: These fully stretchable, washable, electronic inks are manufacture-ready and work with the standard screen-printing process. The product line was presented at the recent Smart Fabric Summit, in Washington DC, by Steven Willoughby, a marketing manager with DuPont Electronics and Communications. “Within five years, smart clothes will outsell smartphones,” Willoughby predicted.

 

  1. Athletix by Globe Manufacturing Company: This “smart” firefighter suit, developed through a private-public-academic partnership, integrates a Wearable Advanced Sensor Platform (WASP) system. It collects physical data while tracking the wearer’s on-site location, allowing firefighters to stay safe while pursuing a rescue. Athletix combines a wearable base layer with Zephyr Bioharness performance monitoring technology and TRX location tracking. Clare King, president of Propel, LLC, partnered with Globe, the Army, Homeland Security, and several New England colleges to develop this project.

 

  1. Tersus Solutions “water-free” textile cleaner: This Colorado-based company found a cleansing solution that doesn’t require water. The secret is a liquid carbon dioxide, which has been converted from gas using a proprietary process that involves pressurization. Tersus has financial backing from Patagonia and recently announced their launch with a large industrial laundry operation. The new product has several implications for the textile industry: reduced pollution and energy use, better maintenance for fabrics with electronic inks, and better cleaning options for heavy-duty, water absorbing military gear, such as a ballistic vest. The prospect of waterless laundry means textile designers can consider a wider range of materials and constructions as well.

 

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