WASHINGTON -- The current Army Combat Uniform top weighs in at about 650 grams, or about
1.4 pounds. It's got a lot of pockets and multiple layers of fabric. When it gets wet, it tends to stay
wet. And when it's hot out, it tends to keep Soldiers hot.
The Army has a solution for that: the Improved Hot Weather Army Combat Uniform that has a
whole lot fewer pockets, layers of fabric and Velcro, as well as a new fabric that is actually lighter
than the current ACU.
"You can hold that uniform up with one finger," said Brig. Gen. Brian P. Cummings, who serves as
Program Executive Officer Soldier, out of Fort Belvoir, Virginia. The organization is responsible
for managing those Army programs that provide most of the things Soldiers carry or wear. That
includes, among other things, individual and crew-served weapons, protective gear, weapons
sights and sensors, and uniform items.
Cummings said the current Army uniform has a lot of good feedback from Soldiers. But, he said,
those uniforms have "all this stuff on it." He was talking about shoulder pockets, and pen pockets
and leg pockets and Velcro swatches to hold flags and unit patches. Each one of those pockets
requires multiple layers of fabric and fastening material, and buttons.
"And they all hold water," Cummings said. "And they cost money."
A new uniform on display at PEO Soldier changes all that. While only the top was available for
viewing, it has a lot fewer pockets on it, and less extraneous fabric. And the fabric it's made from is
lighter than the fabric the current ACU is made from.
The Army wants to bring that uniform first to Soldiers in jungle environments, the 25th Infantry
Division in Hawaii, in particular, where it's both hot and wet. But Cummings said the Army also
hopes to bring the uniform to all Soldiers -- to make it available for purchase in military clothing
Cummings said he hopes to have a light-weight uniform available within a year, saying that
because it is based on an existing uniform that has already been extensively tested, getting this
light-weight uniform to the field will take less time.
"We've tested the heck out of these," Cummings said.
One issue with the light-weight uniform's new fabric is that it might prove itself more susceptible to
wrinkling after washing. That could be fixed, Cummings said, with the application of an anti-wrinkle
treatment. But that would only happen if it didn't interfere with the uniform's ability to wick away
water. Also for consideration, he said, is flame-resistant capability.
|Improved Hot Weather Army Combat Uniform
Improved Hot Weather Army Combat Uniform
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