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Army Eyeing FR Jacket as Fleece Replacement



W.L. Gore & Associates, Inc., is trying to get the U.S. Army to replace the fleece jacket in the Generation III Extended Cold Weather Clothing System with a fire-resistant, Primaloft jacket that looks nice and toasty.

Currently, there is no FR requirement in the ECWCS line, but Army officials are warming up to the idea after dealing with more than a decade of flash-fire producing enemy bombs, said Jon Buchwald, Army branch specialist at Gore's military fabric division. Plus, fleece doesn't compare to Primaloft when it comes to compressibility and efficiency.

“We are trying to replace the fleece; wind goes right through it,” Buchwald said recently at the Army’s 2013 Maneuver Warfighter Conference at Fort Benning, Ga. Gore officials have teamed up with Wild Things Tactical for the venture.

Wild Things Tactical's Low Loft FASTPACK Jacket will feature Gore’s new PYRAD FR-hardened nylon shell, which has undergone Army FR testing at Natick, Buchwald said.

While there are no guarantees, the jacket could go through testing this winter under the Soldier Enhancement Program, Buchwald said. The non-FR version of the jacket has already been adopted by Special Operations Command, he said. It looks and feels extremely light and cozy. The PYRAD shell breathes very well and is also highly water-resistant and completely windproof, Buchwald said.

Wild Things Tactical offers the non-FR version for about $300.


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