Meet Our Newest Innovation: The GORE® Military Fabrics Blog

Written by W. L. Gore & Associates

W. L. Gore & Associates’ Military Fabrics business is the source of a great deal of textile innovation, and to bring you closer to our many exciting new products and inventions, we are launching the GORE® Military Fabrics Blog.

Gore technologies live at the very cutting edge of textile science in both the performance and military fabrics industries, and with this bi-monthly blog we will keep you informed about our latest inventions.

Our products are change agents and to give you a head start, we have showcased several in stories below in this blog. Here, you are invited to read about GORE® Katana Fabric, a military uniform fabric designed specifically for comfort in hot humid environments; GORE-TEX® Extended Comfort Footwear, the boot we have developed for jungle wear; GORE® Stretch Fabric, a new fabric designed to support Special Operations personnel in the field; and GORE® PYRAD® Fabric Technology, Gore’s new self-extinguishing FR fabric.

Many of our newest products are based on GORE-TEX®, Gore’s iconic (and disruptive) technology, but our newest products perform far beyond that technology’s original capabilities, and this includes today’s generation of GORE-TEX® products. Never happy to rest on our laurels, Gore has continued to invent and innovate, as well as improve existing technologies to stay ahead of the markets we serve.

The scientists and labs at Gore are constantly researching, and in this blog, we will tell you the story behind these innovations. We’ll discuss how they work, and how they make a difference in the field supporting mission success.

So sign up using the form below, and stay tuned. We promise a blog packed with great info and good reads!

Advancing Textile Technologies That Improve Mission Effectiveness

GORE® Military Fabrics
Written by W. L. Gore & Associates

War under any conditions can be brutal. But in 1982 during the Falklands War between the UK and Argentina, the conditions were especially harsh. It was the dead of winter, cold and the 74-day conflict, which was fought in part over stormy seas, involved an amphibious assault and a sea battle that destroyed an Argentinian ship and led to the death of nearly 200 Argentinian sailors at sea.

In the end, it turned out to be a victory for Great Britain. But in addition to securing British sovereignty over the Falklands against an Argentinian invasion, the conflict ushered in a new era for military outerwear.

It was the first time a revolutionary new lightweight waterproof, windproof, breathable fabric called GORE-TEX® was used in battle. Prior to the invasion, British war fighters had been outfitted with rain jackets, parkas, trousers, bivouac bags and gators, worn over boots, made from this new fabric technology.

There was nothing else on the market like it, and the GORE-TEX® gear used during the Falklands replaced the traditional heavy, coated rain slickers that had been worn up to that point in similar conditions. British soldiers who fought in that conflict quickly spread the word about GORE-TEX® and its supportive capabilities in battle. From there, a vibrant new business unit at W. L. Gore & Associates (Gore) took off.

Today, the GORE® Military Fabrics portfolio includes a vast number of products. After the Falklands War, for example, Gore began developing the first generation ECWCS (Extended Cold Weather Clothing System) and from there developed other new ePTFE-based technologies.

In the 1990’s Terri Kelly, the company’s current CEO, played a key role in the growth of our military fabrics business. As business unit leader, and under her management, she helped set the tone for GORE® Military Fabric’s ongoing commitment to continual R&D and product development.

For example, the ECWCS clothing system we developed has become a staple with allied militaries around the globe. But today’s version is not the same as the one developed in the 1980’s. The 3rd generation version we sell today is highly advanced, yet not the end of the line.

Gore is a leadership company and we want to know that our products are always the best in the market in their category. At Gore, the science never stops as we develop new iterations of existing technologies, as well as new technologies, new lamination techniques and new ways to use our core ePTFE technology to suit a variety of very specific end applications.

Although Gore’s original ePTFE patent expired in 1994, we have developed different methods for manipulating the ePTFE membrane and multiple new patents have been registered over the years. There are now many different membranes our scientists can chose from and a variety of different lamination processes for use when developing products for the military.

In addition to having multiple variations on the GORE-TEX® theme, we have branched into a variety of other product technologies.

One example is GORE® PYRAD® Fabric Technology, a lightweight, flexible FR technology that self-extinguishes but can also have WWB capabilities (see our blog article below). We have also developed a wide range of chemical and biological protection products under our GORE® CHEMPAK® Fabric line. Other new innovations include breathable, lightweight, but highly durable uniform fabrics designed for hot climates made with an ePTFE fiber. That innovation is called GORE® Katana Fabric, and you can learn more about it here on our blog.

Since the Falklands War, we have continued to prove ourselves through multiple conflicts and today serve every branch of the US military.

The GORE-TEX® laminates include at least 40 major programs including the 3rd Gen ECWCS, FREE (Flame Resistance Environment Ensemble), SOCOM’s protective Combat Uniform (Level 6 and 3 Bravo) NWU 1,2 and 3 (the Navy working uniform in various camo patterns), the USMC Light Weight Exposure Suit, US Air Force APECS and much more. And in addition to clothing systems, our products include tents and shelters. We have a particular focus on developing products for SOCOM, as Gore perceives them as the “engines of innovation” when it comes to developing products for the U.S. military.

The old story is that in the Korean War the US lost more soldiers to the elements than to enemy gun fire. But since the first generation of GORE-TEX® fabric for military use, we have worked to turn that tide and are proud to be able to support our war fighters in battle.

We have a mission, too, and science lives at the core of that mission. Our R&D teams are continually developing new fabric technologies to support our forces during times of preparation and peace and ultimately, times of war.

So stay tuned to this blog.

This is where you can learn more about our newest products, our latest innovations and the technologies that will continue to set the bar for the industry, and continue to be game changers on the battlefield.

Finally – a Combat Uniform Fabric Designed for Hot Climates

Written by W. L. Gore & Associates

Not all combat uniform fabrics are created equal. The standard material used across the board in today’s US military is made from a 50/50 Nylon/Cotton (NYCO) blend that has great durability, but doesn’t dry quickly when wet. It also doesn’t breathe well in humid or arid hot environments.

Given potential (and current) conflicts brewing in both desert and tropical hot spots around the globe, the US military recently issued a development request asking the textile industry for a new fabric more suitable for those climates with superior durability as well as water resistance and low water pick-up.

wlg-t-052a  wlg-t-052b

In response, the Military Fabrics business at W. L. Gore & Associates (Gore) developed an innovative new fabric that incorporates ePTFE as a fiber. We call it GORE® Katana Fabric.

Introduced to global markets this spring, 2016, GORE® Katana Fabric is very different from any other product that Gore, to date, has made for the military and incorporates a long list of outstanding characteristics that support mission success in hot climates.

For starters, it’s hydrophobic, dries quickly, wicks and is supple yet is also highly durable. In summary, this fabric is designed to go where no other fabric has gone before.

GORE® Katana Fabric is another example of Gore’s commitment to developing fabric technologies that support mission success. We’re excited about the difference GORE® Katana Fabric can make for war fighters in the field and encourage you to learn more.

Click here to view the full GORE® Katana Fabric datasheet.

GORE® PYRAD® Fabric Technology: Lightweight and weatherproof with FR protection

GORE® PYRAD® Fabric Technology
Written by W. L. Gore & Associates

In today’s combat landscape, clothing systems that incorporate fire retardant properties have become essential. At any given time, IED’s and other explosives can set off a destructive, fiery blast and managing this issue through conflicts in regions such as Iraq and Afghanistan has been very difficult.

Flame retardant (FR) treatments for textiles do exist, but many are also stiff, heavy and inhibit apparel breathability. As a result, it’s hard to maneuver, run or stay even moderately comfortable in many climates when wearing traditional clothing with FR protection. At the same time, combat apparel that does not have FR protection exposes war fighters to life threatening burns.

With these scenarios in mind, the scientists at W. L. Gore & Associates (Gore) developed a new laminate called GORE® PYRAD® Fabric Technology that provides an advanced level of FR protection in military apparel combined with an unprecedented level of comfort.

In development for over five years and on the market for three, GORE® PYRAD® Fabric Technology is a laminate technology that can incorporate a waterproof, windproof, breathable GORE-TEX® membrane for increased protection against inclement weather.

GORE® PYRAD® Fabric Technology is actually self-extinguishing, and apparel made from this technology can minimize fire injury, while offering a high level of thermal protection per unit weight, as demonstrated in manikin flash fire test (ASTM F1903) and arc flash tests (ASTM F1959). The technology also enables products to self-extinguish even in the presence of residual compounds. Based on the end application, garments made with GORE® PYRAD® Fabric Technology can also be engineered with static dissipation properties to minimize the possibility of static discharge igniting flammable materials.

At the same time, GORE® PYRAD® Fabric Technology apparel products are light weight and drapable, plus breathable. During intense physical activities, garments made with the GORE® PYRAD® Fabric Technology laminate allow sweat evaporation, which reduces heat exhaustion. At the other end of the temperature spectrum, these garments do not hinder freedom of movement – even at very low temperatures.

Compared to traditional flame resistant technologies, GORE® PYRAD® Fabric Technology garments also have superior abrasion resistance and colorfastness, which enhance service life.

Foremost, GORE® PYRAD® Fabric Technology products can help save lives, and reduce or even prevent horrific burns. Flame tests filmed at the famed PyroMan fire labs at NC State University tell that story. In the video below, combat fatigues that integrate the GORE® PYRAD® Fabric Technology laminate self-extinguish after less than five seconds when torched with a heavy flame, demonstrating low levels of burn injury as reflected in low incidents of second and third degree burns.

Today, the U.S. Marine Corps is using GORE® PYRAD® Fabric Technology in its 10 and 15-man shelters and the Italian Special Forces use GORE® PYRAD® Fabric Technology in their battle dress uniforms. Gore has also developed a hard shell jacket constructed of a GORE-TEX® membrane and GORE® PYRAD® Fabric Technology, which is being evaluated by the U.S. Army.

You can learn more on our website. But for now, we invite you to see for yourself and watch the video below.


GORE® PYRAD® Fabric Technology Test Comparison

Written by W. L. Gore & Associates

GORE® PYRAD® Fabric Technology is an innovative, self-extinguishing fabric technology that adds heat and flame protection properties to non-flame retardant (FR) textiles. When laminated to nylon, polyester, and other fabrics, GORE® PYRAD® Fabric Technology provides excellent protection against heat and fire by balancing flame resistance, thermal insulation, and thermal stability.

The use of traditional non-FR textiles allows garments to leverage key attributes of the non-FR textile, such as low water pick-up, abrasion resistance, and production of FR high-visibility fabrics. Without GORE® PYRAD® Fabric Technology, traditional non-FR textiles continue to propagate flame, exhibit melting and dripping, and increase the potential of burn injury.

GORE® PYRAD® Fabric Technology increases thermal protective performance and reduces potential for burn injury. It also offers an improvement in thermal stability by maintaining physical integrity after exposure.

A Combat Boot that Breathes

Written by W. L. Gore & Associates

Walking for miles in hot environments, whether arid or humid, can be brutal for war fighters on the march. But it’s also serious business. Your typical leather combat boot designed for durability in rough terrains can cause excessive internal micro-climate overheating. The resulting chafing, blisters, fungi and bacterial infections can easily stop war fighters in their tracks. Literally.

Foot issues such as those have a serious, detrimental impact on mission success, especially in environments that are very hot. Add water or perspiration to the equation and you have a recipe for distress. At the same time, the US military may increasingly be called into action in hot climates. In a recent keynote address at the annual Eisenhower lunch at the AUSA show in Washington DC, Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Milley stated that the US Army, through its strategic planning and review of global conditions, expects to see an increasing number of conflicts to occur in tropical regions in the years ahead.

Factoring all of this in, the scientists at W. L. Gore & Associates (Gore) have developed a new boot technology designed for comfort and protection throughout potentially long missions that provides durable waterproofness, quick dry-out and high breathability in multiple climates. Extended-Comfort-Cutaway

Called GORE-TEX® Extended Comfort Technology, this innovation lives up to its name in a number of key ways. For the military, it can offer lightweight comfort and protection in jungle or desert environments, and throughout most warm-to-temperate climates. The fact that it’s lighter than the typical leather combat boot means it also reduces leg and foot fatigue. A single boot for multiple seasons, GORE-TEX® Extended Comfort Footwear is also designed to provide lightweight comfort and protection for law enforcement patrol and tactical officers.

GORE-TEX® Extended Comfort Footwear is the world’s first functional military boot with a separate loose, single-wall lining that incorporates a GORE-TEX® membrane with a moisture-wicking inner layer. The lining also has a rugged, abrasion-resistant nylon outer layer.

Due to this boot’s unique single-wall construction, GORE-TEX® Extended Comfort Footwear not only protect feet from outside moisture, but from perspiration as well, by allowing moisture vapor to escape at a very high level. Additionally, the construction conducts heat away from the foot, which results in a cooler foot, even in very hot external temperatures. Meanwhile, laboratory tests prove that GORE-TEX® Extended Comfort boots retain 90% less water than traditional non-waterproof boots. In other words, it’s ideal for tropical settings. GORE-TEX® Extended Comfort Footwear

Several brand partners including Belleville, Reebok and STC now sell footwear designed with GORE-TEX® Extended Comfort Technology. You can learn more about this revolutionary boot technology here in the technology section of the Gore Military Fabrics Blog, on our website at

The Navy Will Pay Big Bucks to Change Their Navy Working Uniforms

Written by W. L. Gore & Associates

Replacing the Navy Working Uniform Type I will cost the service about $180 million over a five-year period, Kit Up reported.

The soon-to-be-discontinued uniforms, introduced in 2009, cost the Navy $229 million to develop. The outfit has been criticized for it’s ineffective “blueberry” camouflage, which only conceals sailors after they’ve fallen into the water. The suit’s nylon material melts when exposed to fire, raising further safety concerns.

Due to the high cost, The Senate recently added a provision to the National Defense Authorization Act requiring the Defense Department provide advanced notice to Congress before developing new camouflage.

The Navy will begin issuing NWU Type III, replacement uniforms, in October 2017 and will eliminate Type I by the fall of 2019.

Read the full story here.

Army Launches New Department: The Rapid Capabilities Office

Written by W. L. Gore & Associates

In an effort expedite critical defense technologies, Eric K. Fanning, the Secretary of the Army, has launched the Rapid Capabilities Office, Kit Up reported. The new department offers rapid prototyping to better address the needs of commanders.

Initially, the Office will focus on capabilities in electronic warfare and cybersecurity as well as navigation and timing. Fanning believes the new office will enable the U.S. military to advance dominance and confront emerging threats. The Office expects to impact military operations within one to five years.

Ultimately the Office intends to expand the solutions-capacity of chosen commanders in select operations. This differs from the Army Rapid Equipping Force, which works more broadly with forward-deployed units.

As Secretary of the Army, Fanning will head the board of directors while Doug Wiltsie, the Office’s director, leads daily operations. Wiltsie has an extensive background leading systems engineering operations for the Army. The office plans to collaborate with prominent warfighters throughout the prototyping process.

Read the full story here.

Uniform Changes Cost the Military Hundreds of Millions

Written by W. L. Gore & Associates

The Navy’s current phase-out of its Type I uniform, know as “aquaflage,” marks the latest in a series of costly outfit redesigns and modifications, CNN explained in a recent article.

Since 2002, the Pentagon has spent hundreds of millions of dollars on uniform upgrades and many of these didn’t last long. Replacing the Navy Working Uniform (NWU) Type I will cost roughly $180 million over a five-year period, a source told CNN.

The military previously relied on two uniforms, but after 9/11 branches began opting for distinct service cammies. This led to the development of seven unique uniforms in different patterns and colors. The new uniforms were designed to meet specific tactical requirements, boost morale, and help with recruiting.

The list of scrapped styles includes the green-and-gray Universal Camouflage Pattern, introduced to the Army in 2005 and replaced by the MultiCam Uniform in 2010. A 2012 Government Accountability Report later revealed the Universal Camouflage, which cost $3.2 million to develop, was never properly tested for its ability to conceal the wearer. Then, in 2012, the Navy dropped the Service Dress Khaki Uniform after only six years. Footwear has changed across all services as well.

In contrast, the Marine Corps has continued to use its Combat Utility Uniform, which was developed in 2002 for only $319,000.

Congress responded to the growing expense by cutting off funding for new camouflage designs in 2014.

Read the full story here.

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.

Read the full story here.


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