Our good friends at Soldier Systems have an interesting post on PEO Soldier's latest improvement program for the fire-resistent ACU pant. It looks as if PEO is going all Gucci on Joes here with high speed knee pads, space-age fabrics and more dip pockets than you can pack a can with.
Originally called the Army Combat Pant and for a short period referred to as the Fire Resistant Ruggedized Pant, the program has transformed into the FR ACU Trouser Product Improvement Program. Ultimately, what this means is that PEO-Soldier is working hard to transform the FR ACU into an even more combat focused garment rather than developing yet another garment.We reported here and at Military.com a couple years ago on gripes from the field about the durability of the new ACUs, particularly with the crotch construction and the knees. During a sit down with reporters a few weeks ago, PEO officials talked up their most recent enhancements, including buttons on the trouser pockets instead of Velcro, a better collar, smaller Velcro on the zipper flap of the blouse, better IR tape placement and new cuffs.
But it looks like their also developing a way more tricked out version as well:
Massif Mountain Gear and Crye Precision collaborated on the next step, which resulted in the Massif Army Combat Pant Version 4.0A, which employed various weights of Defender M fabric and Defender M stretch fabric to make the seat and crotch more durable. At the same time, Crye Precision’s adjustable-height, integrated hard-shell knee pad design greatly improved the durability of the knee, providing greater protection to the Soldier. This feature in particular has been the most important solution in the project. External knee pads require constant adjustment and lightweight pads slipped into the knee pad slot of the trouser result in extra abrasion and worn knees.Crye is wracking up the coups here, with the camo evaluation in Afghanistan (MultiCam) and now this. And I must say I'm a big fan of Massif, which makes the Army's combat shirt. They hooked me with some FR gear for my last Iraq embed to evaluate and they were great to work with (though I didn't much like their FR fleece).
Be sure to keep an eye on Soldier Systems for updates to this story. We'll also have more here at DT on the great camo battle going on in Afghanistan.