The Army and Air Force have worked on a new chemical suit that is lighter and cooler for soldiers and airmen to wear. The services are testing prototypes of the new suits at Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland.
Engineers have worked on what they call “removing the thermal burden” of the suits. In other words, the engineers are developing cooler suits so soldiers and airmen are not sweating and losing water in combat.
The effort is called the Integrated Protective Fabric System program. It’s being led by the U.S. Army Natick Soldier Research Development and Engineering Center, or NSRDEC, in Natick, Massachusetts, and the U.S. Air Force Civil Engineering Center.
Engineers have designed a cooler suit by altering the fabrics where soldiers and airmen produce the most heat such as the chest and groin. Meanwhile the new suits reinforce areas where soldiers and airmen would likely come in contact with a chemical agent like the elbow or knee, according to press release from the Army.
The Army and Air Force plan to test the suit throughout the rest of the year.