Article on Army Improved Hot Weather Combat Uniform

http://www.military.com/daily-...Early%20Bird%20Brief

Military.com | 10 Aug 2017 |

In January, U.S. Army uniform officials will begin an evaluation of the service's new Improved Hot Weather Combat Uniform by issuing the lighter, more breathable uniform to thousands of soldiers in Hawaii.

The new IHWC is the result of a directed requirement to outfit soldier with a jungle uniform suitable for operations in the Pacific theater. This follows a similar effort that recently resulted in the Army fielding 9,000 pairs of new Jungle Combat Boots to the 25th Infantry Division's 2nd and 3rd Brigade Combat teams in Hawaii between March and August.

Up until this point, 25th ID soldiers training to operate in hot, tropical environments have been wearing Universal Camouflage Pattern Army Combat Uniforms and Hot Weather Combat Boots intended for desert environments.

"January 2018 is going to be huge," said Capt. Daniel Ferenczy, assistant product manager for Extreme Weather Clothing and Footwear. "They are going to be pure-fleeted in the [Operation Camouflage Pattern] with jungle boots in a hot weather combat uniform."

The new uniform, made by Source America, is a 57 percent Nylon/ 43 percent cotton blend to make it "faster-drying" and have "greater airflow" than the 50-50 Nylon cotton blend on the ACU, Ferenzcy said.

"It adds a little bit more strength which allows us to make it a lighter blend or a thinner weave ... so it should dry a little quicker," Ferenzcy said. "There are also architectural differences between the ACU uniform and this one."

The new uniform has better flexibility and less layers of fabric, Ferenczy said adding that "less layers of fabric means that it retains less moisture means it dries quicker."

There are no breast pockets since soldiers in the field are typically wearing gear that covers them, and "all they end up doing is retaining moisture and heat, so we removed that extra layer there," Ferenzcy said.

"The back pockets in the trousers are gone as well for the same reason," he said. Uniform officials have added an ID card pocket inside the waistband.

The Improved Hot Weather Combat Uniform blouse also features a button-down front instead of a zipper closure. Uniform officials also replaced the side zipper closure on the shoulder sleeve pockets with a button-down flap at the top of the pocket, Ferenzcy said.

The new uniform features reinforced elbows and reinforced and articulated knees and a gusseted crotch, said Ferenzcy, whose office worked with the Natick Soldier Systems Center to develop the IHWCU.

"Every design feature on this uniform came straight out of the horse's mouth," Ferenzcy said. "The folks that designed it worked hand-in-hand with the Jungle Operations Training Center in Hawaii."

The plan is to issue about 20,000 sets of the new uniforms to the 2nd and 3rd BCTs in Hawaii in January and then another 10,000 to 12,000 sets in March, Ferenzcy said, describing the $14 million effort.

"This is under a directed requirement, so right now they are just a one-time buy," Ferenzcy said. "It was 'hey, we need to get these guys ready for Pacific operations.' We don't know exactly yet how we are going to sustain it."

After 25th ID soldiers have a chance to train in the new uniforms, Ferenzcy's team plans to return in "April or May and get feedback on the uniform and then we will make adjustments as needed, Ferenzcy said.

"It they don't like this material, the 57/43 NYCO blend, we may go with something else," he said.

Phase two of the effort involves buying another 11 brigades worth of the IHWCU in its final form for contingency stocks "in case another brigade got turned on to deploy or do a training mission in a tropical environment, we would have uniforms ready for them," Ferenzcy said.

"This uniform is about a pound lighter than the Army Combat Uniform; it's very comfortable and not only does it make fighting and operating in a tropical hot wet environment easier, it's also going to potentially mitigate heat injuries because it holds less heat and less moisture," Ferenczy said.

"There no scientific studies to back this up, but heat casualties across the force are one of the biggest things that take soldiers out of the fight."

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Things that stood out to me - gusseted crotch, eliminating pointless front chest pockets, shoulder pockets looking more retro by the day.  Oh, and lighter weight and faster cooling?  Sounds like a decent start.

Tankersteve

In Yorktown, VA.          Joined August 2008

Gov't Civilian, after retiring from active duty in 2015. 

 

'One's own open sore never smells.'  - Haitian proverb

Original Post

This mostly sounds like long overdue good news, but...

There are no breast pockets since soldiers in the field are typically wearing gear that covers them, and "all they end up doing is retaining moisture and heat, so we removed that extra layer there," Ferenzcy said.

"The back pockets in the trousers are gone as well for the same reason," he said. Uniform officials have added an ID card pocket inside the waistband.

Am I the only one who sees a flimsy cloth inside-the-waistband pocket as being a poor location for carrying an ID card? A place where the card will likely get bent, lost (when it fails), and cause general discomfort while moving or bending. Not to mention staying wet longer than the chest pockets they're losing. If you've ever been in a hot humid jungle... the waist line is a damp & chafing place for infantrymen. Not to mention poor accessibility for a damn ID card whether in garrison or the field. 

Like those useless & flimsy little internal waistline key/ID card pockets they include on issue PT uniforms. 

I'd retain a pocket high on the chest. Troops need that pocket for things like ID cards, Blood Chits, 9-Line Casualty Tag, etc. Nobody is going to use the proposed waist pocket for their ID card anyway. 

Crap, just include a sturdy document pocket inside of a thigh cargo pocket.

 

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The moral high ground is sometimes just a head on a long pike... - Astronomy

 

A new Plt Ldr is like a first time new mother. The Plt Sgt is a lifelong midwife and nanny. It's your baby, but he knows a lot about changing diapers and other ugly things. - Astronomy

I agree, the waistline solution is dumb.

I think you hit the real solution in that last line.  That way, even if the blouse is removed, you still retain critical documents.

Tankersteve

In Yorktown, VA.          Joined August 2008

Gov't Civilian, after retiring from active duty in 2015. 

 

'One's own open sore never smells.'  - Haitian proverb

So "copy" crye pants thigh pocket (the little one on the front) for documents. 

The improvements should be incorporated into the current Combat Uniform being fielded to the force.

"Be an example to your men, in your duty and in private life. Never spare yourself, and let the troops see that you don't in your endurance of fatigue and privation. Always be tactful and well-mannered and teach your subordinates to do the same. Avoid excessive sharpness or harshness of voice, which usually indicates the man who has shortcomings of his own to hide." - Field Marshall Erwin Rommel

 

Joined: 12/24/04    LOCATION : Moments away from BFG and DD

*missed the window* 

"contingency stocks"

So you spend $11,000,000 just to have it sit in WAR STOCK! WTF and then when soldiers/leaders get it. You have to change your uniform configuration (pocket litter) because you don't have ass or chest pockets. 

It ant the jungle but in GA I could use a lighter weight uniform now. 

"Be an example to your men, in your duty and in private life. Never spare yourself, and let the troops see that you don't in your endurance of fatigue and privation. Always be tactful and well-mannered and teach your subordinates to do the same. Avoid excessive sharpness or harshness of voice, which usually indicates the man who has shortcomings of his own to hide." - Field Marshall Erwin Rommel

 

Joined: 12/24/04    LOCATION : Moments away from BFG and DD

Why do we always pretend there are no other armies on earth? Foreign uniforms seem to often have solved this. Things like (as posited by Astonomy) one pocket on the chest, and one zippered back pocket are common and are clearly for things you should keep with you all the time like identity documents. Survey those, try them on a weekend exercise, rate the responses, adopt those features. Duh. 

Inside the waist? How do you get there when wearing all your gear? And who thinks that's comfortable? I've long wondered why they have those change/key pockets inside swim trunks designed to stab you and be flimsy enough that they rip out and you loose the stuff anyway. 

The things that will destroy America are prosperity at any price, peace at any price, safety first instead of duty first, the love of soft living and the get rich quick theory of life. – Theodore Roosevelt

 

Joined: 19NOV2004   Location: Mission, Kansas

I know I'm not the only one that uses the back pockets. Not always for a wallet, but always for something. That really seems like a strange decision.

The breast pockets suck under a plate carrier, but are useful in garrison, and under LBE I'd rather wear a combat shirt. The decision to remove them makes me worry about the future of the combat shirt.

Decoy, I agree on the combat shirt issue.  However, just making the current uniform more comfortable is sensible.

I also liked the back pocket, but for stupid reasons like a small water bottle fits back there pretty well, and is not uncomfortable, even on longer hikes.  Certainly better than a thigh pocket.

Tankersteve

In Yorktown, VA.          Joined August 2008

Gov't Civilian, after retiring from active duty in 2015. 

 

'One's own open sore never smells.'  - Haitian proverb

 It is interesting to me the amount of gear that has come across Soldier Systems Daily and others that is jungle environment oriented.  I know we have people training in those environments, and probably HSLD dudes doing real work in jungle operations, but the industry support for that kind of environment makes me wonder if I'm missing something.

"Here I abandon peace and desecrate law. Farewell to treaties. Fortune it is you I follow... From now on, war will be my judge."

Roughly 40% of the world's population lives within 100 km of a coastline. That means you have dense vegetation and tropical weather for a significant portion of the places we would consider a future threat. There are the Koreans and Greenlands that have cold coastlines but that's not the big threat places like the Philippines or Central America are.  

Shoot, I know progress costs $$, but $14M for a max of 32K uniform set comes out to about $438 a copy. Maybe Brooks Brothers will get the contract .  

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Joined: 29 May 2008          Location: AZ

There seems to be a new emphasis on hot weather clothing and gear for the jungle environment which probably means the next war will be in North Korea during the winter. 

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-Damn Dirty Apes !

 

Joined: 11/2/05         Location: Hoppy beer and tacos.

Meh. More stuff that I can't envision getting. It's bloody hot in North Carolina in the summertime as well. 93 degrees and 100 percent humidity today, and I have to wear a uniform that is an attempt at universal clothing. You have to remember, that the thick uniforms you are required to wear are the bare minimum you will be wearing at any given time. You can always add layers, but you can't take off that last mandatory barrier between you and the environment. At 110 dollars a set they aren't cheap either, as all of those additional features, like chest, rear pockets, and the damn ball point pen pockets, with their oh-so-important redundant stress relieving bar tacks, that an American citizen was contracted to sew, add to cost. Reducing the unneeded features of these uniforms would be a good first step towards making them more affordable for soldiers. I would take it if it was free, end of story, but I have 6 sets of Scorpion ACUs to shred before I even consider spending another dime on uniforms.

IIRC this was already done in the early 80s. The ripstop lime green slant pockets were going out. New uniform came in made of heavier material. Those in the hot-wet regions were falling out as it retained heat. And once you got wet, you stayed wet. Uniform hardly dried out. A newer uniform was put out in lighter material. If only we could learn from history. 

Wild Bill

B0308 posted:

Shoot, I know progress costs $$, but $14M for a max of 32K uniform set comes out to about $438 a copy. Maybe Brooks Brothers will get the contract .  

Brooks Brothers has actually produced military uniforms for over a century:

http://www.navy.mil/submit/display.asp?story_id=12188

The question should be why aren't they expanding the issue of the already available and popular Patagonia jungle uniform?

Probably no- melt/ no-drip requirements. I don't think the Patagonia or Huron hot weather uniforms meet them.

I have to say, I have a couple of tops that have all pockets, reinforcements and tags removed for exactly the reasons above. Pants are much more trouble to modify. When these sneak out on eBay will probably get a few sets.

Battle Monkey posted:

There seems to be a new emphasis on hot weather clothing and gear for the jungle environment which probably means the next war will be in North Korea during the winter. 

A UK friend tells a tale of his Grandfather (a newish LT in a Name Regiment) early on in WW2: the Unit started receiving cold weather stores & clothing...plus WD guides on snow, ice etc  His PL SGT merely said "It's the Army, Sah. Mesopotamia or Malaysia, Sah."

Sure enough- they were sent to the Western Desert.

Years later the LT found out they had been slated for Norway- when that fell through it off to fight the Italians & Afrikacorps.

jfirebalrog posted:

Probably no- melt/ no-drip requirements. I don't think the Patagonia or Huron hot weather uniforms meet them.

I have to say, I have a couple of tops that have all pockets, reinforcements and tags removed for exactly the reasons above. Pants are much more trouble to modify. When these sneak out on eBay will probably get a few sets.

How does this improve fire resistance?

Sincerely,

 

Trajan Aurelius

 

 

When violence is the local language, be fluent.

Nyco blends aren't FR, but the No-melt/ No-Drip requirement is not about resistance. It's about not turning into a river of molten flaming plastic that sticks to people.  Nylon-Cotton blends kinda burn away and fall into pieces from what I have seen ( I'm sure there is a limit on percentage of nylon). Polyester, polyester- cotton, and 100% nylon will melt and stick to skin , retaining heat, causing further burn progression, and complicating debridement.

 

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