Soldiers, at home and overseas, face various weather and temperature conditions. This ranges from extreme heat to extreme cold – during the same area. In fact, soldiers in Afghanistan requested warmer clothing in 2002, which led to the development of the Protective Combat Uniform. Presently, the PCU as well as the GEN III ECWCS systems are utilized by the military for cold temperature clothing. Both are based on a system of seven numbers of base, insulation, and shell garments, wait, how does protection vary for each and every?
The GEN III is most likely the next generation in ECWCS clothing and also a significant improvement over GEN II, which has been simply a cold temperature clothing system. Although ECWCS clothing is issued considering that the mid-1980s to soldiers in colder areas, GEN III addresses all climates a soldier may encounter. Moisture management principles are utilized in each garment to wick away perspiration, plus the seven layers create options are numerous for insulation. The base layers, Levels 1 and a pair of, wick away any moisture, as the insulation layers, Levels 3 and 4, trap heated air against the body. The three shell layers protect up against the wind and moisture. Two of the shell layers is usually worn together if additional protection is necessary.
Development for GEN III began in 2003, as well as the system was tested in 2004 while using 10th Mountain Division and 82nd Airborne Division. The clothing system received proper issue in 2008.
PCU winter clothing, at first glance, might appear interchangeable with GEN III, but this assumption isn’t accurate. The similarities end at seven-layer garments and make use of in colder temperatures. But, while GEN III is right for temperatures between -40°F to 60°F, PCU relies on a different temperature range – -50°F to 45°F – and addresses wet varying weather condotions.
After soldiers in Afghanistan requested warmer clothing in 2003, the U.S. Army Natick Soldier Research Development and Engineering Center started to realize a cold temperature clothing system just for this use. Introduced for testing 12 months later, PCU was evaluated by Army Rangers, Marine Force Reconnaissance, Special Forces, and Navy SEALs. The system then became official in 2006.
PCU uses similar principles for moisture management and insulation through Polartec fabrics and silicone-encapsulated fibers for water and wind resistance. Recent improvements to this winter clothing system have included antimicrobial fibers plus a stretch shell. Base layers Levels 1 and a pair of reduce sweat with breathable material, and insulation layers Levels 4 and 5 are lightweight though a higher warmth-to-weight ratio and moisture management properties. Shell layers, including Level 5, offer abrasion resistance as well as a lightweight design. Level 7, with X-Static lining, uses thermal efficiency to maintain the wearer warm and has now a waterproof surface.