Army Eyeing FR Jacket as Fleece Replacement

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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.

 

About the Author

Matthew Cox
Matthew Cox has been a defense reporter since 1998 and is an associate editor for Military.com. He traveled to Afghanistan and Iraq numerous times from 2002 to 2008, covering infantry units in combat. Matthew was an infantryman in the 82nd Airborne Division.

19 Comments on "Army Eyeing FR Jacket as Fleece Replacement"

  1. Primaloft is not the same as fleece. I´d love to have a FR fleece, but a primaloft jacket made of nylon won´t replace it. It´s not so good as an inner layer, fleece is much more breathable. I´d like to have both, though… This looks much more like they´re lobbying for a contract

  2. IEDs don’t produce “flash fires” any more than conventional ordnance.

    Vehicles hit by IEDs, however, tend to catch on fire. Hence the push for flame retardant uniforms in Iraq a few years back.

  3. Lose the cuff scrunchy, and you have a deal.

  4. If the army's really going to announce a new camo scheme in October like the rumors say, then that would be an ideal time to roll out something new like that…

  5. Lose the stupid cuffs and what is the breathability? I love the fleece because it DOES let air in and cool you off when using just it. Put the shell over it and bam, no wind gets in.

  6. I'd agree with gruntgoo; but I must admit – even though I'm an old dog; we were getting rid of anything that wasn't hollow fill or synthetic in our Arctic gear, way back in the '80s. I'm rather surprised anything natural is left in the system. I suppose the N3B is no longer in service, but I remember being glad they got rid of the smelly old coyote fur hood trim back then too. The synthetic was twice as warm and didn't get all raggedy during wet weather heavy use.

  7. And to think we made due with the OD M-65 Field Jacket with Liner when needed.

  8. I makes to much sense to adopt this so it will never happen. The new fleece is far garbage compared to the older more bulky fleece. Wear the new fleece for about a month and it will have holes and tears through out it. No Generals to make money off this so soldiers will not get it. We need more money wasted on sensors and computers and Star Wars tech because that’s what the bosses want, who cares what the troops need

  9. As someone who is a certified Arctic instructor in the Army I have some gripes with this.
    1. The fleece is misused. Of course wind goes through it, It is not meant to be a outer shell. It is a insulation layer. Anyone with a brain wouldn't wear a fleece in any wet or damp environment.
    2. Who wears a fleece in a Maxxpro?? That sounds miserable.
    3. I served over 4 years IN Alaska. The ECWCS works fine. Waste of money to change it.

  10. SEAhorse, totally agree. As a USMC Mountain Warfare Instructor, I can tell you that the amount of instructional knowledge on how to properly wear the ECWCS embarrassingly low. We need better education on the proper wear of the uniform items before we replace it. Vapor transmission layer, insulating layer, nd protective layer. Follow those guidelines and you’ll be warm and dry.

  11. The MCPS fleece is FR, and the Marine winter fleece is windproof. The level 3 fleece is great if worn as an insulating layer. This looks great as another piece to choose from when needed..

  12. It’s so when office jockeys walk to their car in winter at drum, the wind doesn’t get them chilly while they wear their fleece…

  13. How about we adopt a camo that actually works before we go putting bs TA-50 in the inventory.

  14. This is sexy, no doubt about it. However, EBay has Army Fleece for $15 and this thing is $300. Is fleece really all that bad? This appears to be a solution looking for a problem.

  15. Gee, how did I survive Eielson working the flight line in the late seventies with out all this high tech gear that cost a mint.

  16. Danny Jordan Sr | September 18, 2013 at 10:41 am |

    Bubba J: If its good go for it,if its not throw darts at it(Before you buy a 1,000,000 of them.

  17. So the outer shell is flame retardant, but what is with the Primaloft?
    Or does the fill not have to be FR?

  18. Look a like our ( British ) "softie" which is an awesome bit of kit and could be looked at like our equivalent to your "woogie" poncho liner.

  19. Fleece is warm under something but can't stop the wind from cutting thru. We had problems in Iraq where during the winter, we were not allowed to wear fleece under our vests to keep warm in our HUMMVEES. The melting in a fire was a concern. I go out my nomex flight jacket and warmed up! Fire happens wherever there is a flame via a smoke or an IED!

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