The U.S. Army has begun field testing a new wool-based fabric that consists of of 50 percent wool, 42 percent Nomex, a small percentage of Kevlar, and a small percentage of P140 antistatic fiber. The idea behind the new fabric is to produce a flame-resistant fabric that can be domestically produced without using additional topical treatments. The new uniform prototypes were tested by 100 soldiers during a training exercise in Germany f0r 21 days, which started at the end of August, 2016. Wool doesn’t have a reputation for being comfortable, but so far the new blend of material has passed comfort tests by the small sample of soldiers. Most said the material was lightweight and breathable.
“We were in the heat of summer here, and it was very warm during the exercise. The uniforms were lighter weight and breathed better. Soldiers were very happy with the material,” Riedener said (Field Assistance in Science and Technology advisor assigned to 7th Army Training Command).- U.S. Army
According to the study, each soldier received three different types of uniforms and rated each one based on performance rather than camo pattern.
“Each soldier received three prototypes. Each uniform was made from the same wool-based blend. One was “garment treated” with permethrin, an insecticide, and another “fabric treated” with permethrin. The third was untreated.” – U.S. Army
The feedback from the study is not yet complete, but it will certainly shape the future of combat uniforms. This R&D prototype is a step closer to relying less on foreign nations for materials as well as generating jobs here in America. The article stated there are 80,000 wool growers the Army could use for this new fabric.