May 2014 will bring about a series of changes in regards to the uniforms for female Navy officers and enlistees. The announcement was made by Secretary of the Navy, Ray Mabus last Christmas Eve, and came as a shock to many. The general census among military personnel is that a change to the female uniforms is not necessary. However Mabus explains the reasons for the uniform change in the following statement:
“These changes ensure greater uniformity in our service and ceremonial dress, but more importantly, they send a clear signal that we are one in dress, one in standard and one in team. As you look out across a group of Sailors, you ought to see, not female and male Sailors, but Sailors,” Ray Mabus, SECNAV.
A survey with over 1,000 female Navy personnel conducted in the spring of 2013 concluded that military women welcomed the changes to their uniforms as a means to resemble the male uniforms. However, survey respondents were adamant about the fact that they wanted a quality manufacturing and redesign of their uniforms as opposed to just being forced to wear the male uniforms.
One of the changes to the uniforms include the redesigning of the Service Dress Blues for female Navy personnel ranked E1-E6. The new design for the dress blues was made to incorporate flexibility, functionality, and comfort all while maintaining the traditional sailor image. The ultimate goal of the redesign, as mention in Mabus’ statement above, is to modify the female dress blues so that they closely resemble the male uniforms.
The other change that is being made to the female Navy uniforms is for those who are ranked an E7 or above. This change consist of the redesigning of the combination covers and again are being made to look and operate very similar to the male combination covers. The new version of the female combination covers will be identical to the men’s but will be more fitted to the proportions and body type of women.
The new styles of both the service dress blues and the combination covers are currently going through an extensive fitting and evaluation process. The goal of this process is to not only make sure that these items are comfortable and suitable for women, but also to ensure that durability and functionality of the items perform properly.
Once the final designs are set and approved by military officials, the manufacturing efforts will be underway. The thorough testing and creation of the new uniforms is set to be completed by the spring of 2014, after which a formal introduction and implementation of the suits will ensue in May of 2014.
For timely updates and more information on this matter click here.
For centuries America has been known as the “home of the free, and the land of the brave”; and it is a number our brave men and women who are currently leading the relief efforts in several recently devastated parts of the Philippines after Typhoon Haiyan plowed through much of the region nearly a week ago.
The “super Typhoon”, as many are referring to it as, brought an unimaginable amount of destruction to the area, resulting in over 3,600 confirmed deaths. While the number of fatalities continues to rise each day, the reality of the devastation caused by the Typhoon is becoming overwhelming for most. In addition to the high death toll, the disaster also left over 12, 000 people injured, nearly 600, 000 homeless, and several thousands of individuals still unaccounted for.
Our U.S. Marines and Navy personnel are helping aid members of the community that were affected by the typhoon by supplying food, water, personal items, and helping build temporary shelters. Food and medical assistance are high in demand, however volunteers, officials, and medical staff are working hard to meet the needs of each individual. A large amount of the U.S. military are also assisting in the search for all those who are still missing, which is a reported 1,179 people.
Filipino government officials expressed their gratitude for the U.S.’s timely response to the worst natural disaster, ever recorded in the history of the Philippines. “Having the U.S. military here is a game-changer. For countries that we don’t have these kinds of relationships with, it can take a while to get help. But with the U.S., it’s immediate,” said a representative for the Filipino military. Indeed this is what our country is all about; selflessly assisting others during dire times of need, uplifting the distraught citizens of surrounding countries, and lending a helping hand whenever possible. In addition to constant military presence, we as a nation have contributed over $22 million to go towards relief efforts.
Our dedicated men and women never hesitate to offer their assistance whenever and wherever needed. As they stand tall in their combat coveralls and Nomex flight suits, which we of course manufacture, their humble service to the Filipino civilians is much appreciated, not only by the government of the Philippines but by their friends, family, and an entire nation back home.
The generosity that our great nation has shown towards the Philippines during this tragic time will be forever remembered. I’m sure I can speak for our entire nation when I say that we are proud of our military troops, and we stand behind them as the lead relief efforts in the Philippines. To unite during tragedy is perhaps the greatest display of support. As the famous saying goes, “We are only as strong as we are united, as weak as we are divided”.
The Kentucky division of Carter Industries, Inc. was recently awarded a $9,244,800 firm-fixed-price contract for the production of improved combat vehicle crewman universal camouflage coveralls. Production efforts, by Kentucky and New York, are set to be completed by June 30th 2014 and will be sponsored by the Defense Working Capital funds.
The ICVC coveralls feature a flame-resistant material that ensures versatility and breathability. The quality material and adjustable waist allows for tremendous comfort and durability. In addition the coveralls are equipped with 11 zippered pockets to ensure easy accessibility and optimal convenience. These coveralls are available in a variety of sizes and lengths. Like all other Carter Industries products, the ICVC coveralls meet all standard military qualifications.
This $9 million contract is just one of two major contract deals in the year 2013. The other contract, which was awarded earlier this year in April, was a $12, 441,600 firm-fixed-price contract for the production of the 27/P Nomex Flight Suit. The completion date for this contract is set for April 15, 2014 and is also funded by the Defense Working Capital funds.
The Nomex Flight Suits are of unmatched quality. These suits are made up of flame-resistant material yet are extremely breathable. The two-way zipper and six functional pockets make for a number of convenient compartments. The solution dyed fabric prevents the suits from fading and the adjustable waistband allows for a more tailored fit. As with the coveralls, the Nomex Flight Suits 27/P come in a variety of size, length, and color options.
For years we have been recognized as the leading manufacturer of ICVC coveralls and Nomex Flight Suits. Our commitment to providing quality products to the U.S. Defense Forces and the U.S. Military allows for the receipt of extensive contracts such as this most recent one. For more information on our products or to contact us for business inquires, click here.
Although uncommon, fires do occasionally break out in the cockpit and other areas of planes. Soaring at tens of thousands of feet high leaves little room for error, and a fire certainly complicates things. It is of utmost importance for the professionals aboard airplanes to be assured that they are protected in the event of flash fires and heat malfunctions. The clothing that flight personnel wear must be of the highest quality and offer the greatest protection possible. One of the leading materials in the industry is Nomex. For more than fifty years Nomex has been protecting those in the US Military, as well as other markets as well. It is highly regarded for both its functionality, providing superior flame and heat protections, as well as its comfort and ergonomics.
In the late 1960s a researcher at the DuPont Company, Wilfred Sweeny, first developed the material now known as Nomex. A large number of race car drivers dying from intense burns and heats from crashes prompted the team at DuPont to start looking for fire protective clothing. Since its early beginnings, Nomex has been continually tested and updated to ensure that it delivers the greatest protection from flames, chemicals, and intense temperatures. Flight suits made from Nomex, especially the CWU 27 /p suit, are perfectly optimized to defend the human body. Made from 92% Nomex, with the remaining 8% comprised of the bullet proof Kevlar and anti-static fiber, these flight suits exceed the standards for fire-retardant clothing. For this reason the US Military chooses Nomex flight suits when equipping its pilots. But the suits are not reserved exclusively for pilots though. Realizing the potential of the protective material, the US Military also outfits overseas ground troops with Nomex suits to protect from the harsh environments they encounter.
Nomex is engineered from synthetic aromatic polyamide polymers, creating extensive chains of highly durable fibers. Although many only know polymers to be plastics, there are other forms of them that can make material such as Nomex. During manufacturing, Nomex is produced as either large sheets of fabric or as individual fibers that are subsequently woven into a fully fire-resistant cloth. These fabrics lie at the center of what makes Nomex so adept at defending against fire. Material made from Nomex can catch aflame, like many other fabrics, but that’s where it stops. Unlike other materials, Nomex extinguishes itself. When a part of the suit is charred or enflamed, the heat will not harm the rest of the suit, and protecting the person wearing it. Even better, if the suit does catch alight, an additional layer of protection is added. That is, when the Nomex suit is burning, its fibers absorb the heat and swell, adding a layer of insulation between the wearer’s skin and the heat.
One of the most popular flights suits is the CWU 27 /p. It is much beloved not only for its life saving protective features, but also for its comfort, lightweight, and durability. The US Military has far expanded its use beyond the air force, providing the suits for ground troops as well. They are widely used in tank deployments, offering protection from the heat released from explosions, chemicals, and even some radiation. The unique blend of the suit’s material also prevents accidental bursts of flame occurring, utilizing the anti-static material to prevent this. The zippers are also a favorite, made from high quality brass to prolong the life of the suit.
There is no wiggle room when manufacturing clothing to protect people’s lives. Only the best material will do when one is talking about protecting a human being, and Nomex has long been regarded as that material. The last half century has shown that Nomex protects best, and the US Military only chooses Nomex for that reason.
Many of the items of clothing we purchase have to meet certain fire resistant standards by OSHA. But for certain people in certain professions, a higher level of fire resistant clothing and fabrics is not only important, it is essential to keep them safe in their regular job duties. Among some of the most recognized brands and types of fire resistant fabrics are nomex flight suits, kevlar, nomex, indura, pbi, proban, and a few other notable names. These materials are specially made and specially designed to keep clothing from melting and causing more damage to a person than heat and fire would alone.
This line of fire resistant fabrics has been in use since the 1960s. DuPont developed and trademarked this type of fabric after recognizing a need among race car drivers. After bearing witness to far too many fiery crashes resulting in fatalities, Nomex was developed as a fabric which is much like nylon. It is breathable, yet durable, and comfortable to wear. Firefighters often wear Nomex hoods, which is worn to cover areas of the head, face, and neck that are not otherwise covered by the helmet and the mask. These hoods protect these areas from the intense heat, as well as flames when fighting fires.
Among some of the more common types of fire resistant fabrics is Kevlar. It is related to Nomex, and was also developed by DuPont. It is lighter and thinner than traditional Nomex fabrics, which makes it a popluar choice for heat protection. While most of us think of bullet-proof vests when we think of Kevlar. It has a variety of uses, and its ability to retain its tensile strength in both extreme cold and extreme heat make it a suitable choice for people who are looking for clothing that allows them freedom of movement without a lot of additional padding and additional weight.
Nomex Flight Suits
Made of approximately 90% Nomex, Nomex flight suits are US Military Grade suits used by pilots and astronauts. These suits are lightweight and durable, and provide a good amount of protection against cockpit fires and other mishaps while allowing the wearer to maintain easy and free movement. These flight suits are an essential part of the gear worn by military pilots and astronauts.
Indura cotton is among one of the best selling brands of flame resistant clothing. Indura is 100% cotton, and provides washable durability for professionals who rely on some degree of fire resistant clothing. Indura’s cotton clothing is treated with flame resistant polymers, which provides the heat and fire protection many professionals need. From shirts, to pants to socks, Indura offers a full line of affordable clothing to welders, electricians, race car drivers, and pilots.
PBI is another organic fiber which offers superior fire resistance. Because of its moisture content, it is an excellent choice for firefighters and those who are subject to direct exposure to flames. Its gold-colored fibers blend well with other fibers to create a premium product which is effective, durable, and lightweight. It is also a bit higher on the price spectrum than other comparable products.
Proban is a bit different than the other fire resistant and fire retardant clothing. Proban is not an actual fiber, like many of the other materials previously discussed. Rather, it is a treatment which is applied to fabrics after they have been been woven. Many of the clothing items we know and are familiar with such as Carhartt and Dickies are treated with Proban. These products are affordable and fairly effective at providing a somewhat lower degree of flame resistance than some of the other fabrics, but will provide ample protection for certain professionals.
What Is The Difference Between Inherent Flame Resistant Fabrics And Treated Flame Resistant Fabrics?
Fabrics that are IFR (Inherently Flame Resistant) are woven from fibers which are already flame resistant. This means these fabrics will remain flame resistant for a lifetime without any additional treatment necessary. Treated flame resistant fabrics, however, are fabrics that are sprayed or dipped into a flame resistant chemical. This treatment renders the fabrics flame resistant, but the flame resistance may not be permanent. These types of fabrics may lose some degree of their flame resistance through washing, regular use, and exposure to certain elements.
For professionals who require any degree of heat and flame resistance as a part of their work, there are a variety of fabrics available to choose from. From fabrics which are made of flame resistant fibers to fabrics which are treated with a flame resistant chemical, there is a style, weight, and brand to suit your needs and your budget.
The modern flight suit is light weight, designed to be keep the pilot warm during flight and provide the pilot with the most optimal protection in case something should go wrong while in flight. As you can imagine this wasn’t always the case, the quality flight suits like everything else improved over time as new materials were developed and new applications for them discovered.
Before and at the beginning of World War I most aviators wore leather coats while flying they were manufactured in brown and black and in many different styles. There were very few common features however they were mainly leather due to it’s durability. During this time some pilots wore a garment made from gabardine which is a tightly woven fabric made from worsted wool or cotten.
The Royal Naval Air Service, in 1915 introduced an overcoat with a belt, in blue, that was worn as a flying kit. It looked like a knee-length, double-breasted reefer coat. it had very large flap and button skirt pockets, a falling collar and shoulder straps.
The Royal Flying Corps’ first official body garment was introduced in 1912. It was a long jacket with a cross- over chest piece It had two flapped pockets which covered the front of the garment and an angled pocket use to store maps on the chest. It fastened with buttons down the right side and had a stand collar fastened with two small buttons and it had a woolen lining. An improved version with a large, unflapped map pocket and ‘grip studs’ on the skirt pocket flaps was introduced in September 1913, accompanied by leather trousers with a front flap opening, buttoning to a waistband, and with buckled straps round the ankles.
These garments were the only official clothing until August 1916 when a waterproof garment was introduced. It’s thought that this garment was made of standard rain coat material but lined with slink, which was wool taken from a lamb.
In the winter of 1916 an Australian flight Sub-Lieutenant Sidney Cotton of RNAS discovered that the grease in his maintenance overall protected him from the cold air. While all of his peers where coming back half frozen from missions he was fine. He took this idea and designed a new suit with the assistance of J. Evans of Robinson and Cleaver Limited. The suit was made of a light Burburry material it had a lining of thin fur and air-proof silk. It had fur cuffs and neck as well. The Sidcot became the main flight suit of the final years of the war.
When World War II began electric heated flight suits were being used for crews flying at high altitudes. it was so cold at altitudes of
30,000 feet that their skin would freeze. But as pressurized cabins were introduced the need for heated warm bulky suits became obselete snd the emphasis began to turn to safety and a suit that was more functional in the small confines of the fighter plane cockpit. AN-S-31 flight suit was developed for the US Army Air Corps. It had two button-down breast pockets and two button-down shin pockets that were designed to be accessible from a seated position. It was made from either wool or tight-weave cotton which provided some protection against wind resistance and fire.
Back in 1964 in Indianapolis, there were many notable race car drivers that had died due to several unfortunate fiery crashes. People were angry about this and demanded that someone come up with something that would be able to save the lives of their favorite race car drivers. Within 2 years, there were race car drivers wearing a special suit. It was later discovered that the suits these drivers were wearing were suits made from the Nomex material. Nomex is a flame-resistant material that was made using a Meta variant aramids. This was invented by Du Point. Even though the Nomex suit was released in 1966 it did not grow in popularity until 1967, this is due to the fact that there had not been any marketing done during the early stages. Once the marketing of this new material hit the racing community’s people became more aware of the materials properties and benefits for the race car drivers. They learned that the Nomex material was not only flame-resistant but highly durable as well as rigid. Since the flight suits are not made from the para-aramid material it does not protect the wearer from bullets. It is instead made from a meta-aramid material which is the property that protects the wearer from fire.
Flight suits that are worn around the world are recognized by their distinguishing features.
What is a Flight Suit?
A flight suit is a full body piece of clothing that is also commonly referred to as a jumpsuit. These flight suites (Jumpsuits) usually are designed to be flame-retardant. They have also been shown to be flame-resistant and stain-resistant as well. This creates the ultimate non-fussy suit for pilots and active duty military personnel. Flight suits are commonly designed with multiple pockets, these pockets can be found in the front, back and sides of the suit. The suits also tend to include an inner lining. This is done so that the user is able to stay warm during the flight when they are in the cooler air of the high altitudes.
Throughout the years the flight suites have been improved as new technology is developed. One such an example of this important would be the Sidcot design that was created in Australia back in 1917. This design was instrumental in the introduction of additional lining. This allowed flexibility for the wearer since the suit could be worn in lower temperatures and at greater elevations. This was especially important since at the time aircrafts did not contain cabin-pressure and due to this fact could at times have decreased temperatures of below freezing. This suit was used by the Royal Armed Forces up until the early 1950’s.
After this time the suits were redesigned with heating features that were designed with the collaborative effort of Lion Apparel and company General Electric. Once the aircraft had developed “pressurized” cabins this particular flight suit design was no longer needed. The flight suit “poopsie” was introduced into the market a short time later. The suit was created to provide additional support to the wearer and to protect the pilot from hypothermia when they would need to eject themselves from the aircraft or if the pilot were to land in cold water. The poopsie flight suit was not the preferred choice by pilots but it allowed them to successful stay alive even in cold water for as many as 15 hours after landing.
The maker of this suit Lion Apparel is still a predominate force in this industry.
During the 1940’s a new suit was introduced called the G-Loc flight suit. The suit was designed with a built-in water pocket (or sack) that was designed in order to prevent hypoxia. This condition would develop from a sudden and immediate decrease in oxygen while in-flight. This would occur in faster aircrafts like those that were designed for the use in combat.
The Libelle suit is an anti-gravity flight suit that is currently being tested by the Swiss in collaboration with TPS (an organization located at Mountain Home AFB, Idaho). The Libelle means “dragonfly” in Swiss and based on their preliminary testing appears that this suit may surpass pneumatic anti-G suits that are currently being used. This new suit is being crafted in order to overcome some current issues with the pre-existing suits.
During High-G acceleration the force and pressure force the blood from the pilot’s body away from their brain down towards their lower extremities. This sudden decrease in blood flowing into the brain can cause the pilot to lose consciousness and pass out. This can be a potential fatal situation.
With the introduction of the pneumatic anti-G suits, these occurrences have been greatly reduced. The goal of the Libelle suit however is to completely remove these occurrences and the future looks promising. The Libelle concept has been under development for the past several years and it has been conducted via the use of centrifuge and testing amongst the Swiss and German air forces.
What makes this suit unique is the fact that it is based on the concept of liquidity. This means that it will not have any need for mechanical regulating systems on board. The suit if successful will also decrease the need or requirement of positive pressure breathing. It will reduce the amount of physical effort that is needed while improving the pilot’s ability to communicate under these high-G force conditions.
The testing in the US began recently and during the next few weeks the students at the TPS will undergo testing in these flight-suits. The testing will also factor in different weather conditions to see if the suit can also be worn in hot environments. This will allow them to determine whether the cost vs. the benefits prove to be in the best interest of the US Air Force.
Common Flight Suits Worn Around the World
As we take a closer look into the history of flights suits it is important to explore those suits designed and worn in different countries across the globe. Let’s take the US military use flight suits for example. The US Defense Force which includes the Air Force, Navy and Army all wear the CWU 27/P Nomex Flight Suit. These suits are made from a Nomex material and included Kevlar. These suits are fire resistant, resistant to chemical spills and are also radiation resistant. The suits are commonly tan and sage green in color and include pockets along the side of the leg. This allows the pilot to have easy access to their flight plans and other important objects.
The English Royal Air Force (RAF)
The English Royal Air Force is also commonly referred to as the British Armed Forces. Their flight suits were created using leather and during the WWII they had included electrically heated suits, shortly after the Nomex fabric was instituted into the design. The standard issue flight suit currently is the MK16A flight suit which is very similar to the US CWU 27/P. It is also made with the Nomex material and it has a similar pocket configuration. It comes in Nato Green which is similar to the sage green of the CWU 27/P Nomex Flight Suit.
The Japanese Self Defense Forces
The Japanese Self Defense Forces used flight suits that were designed during WWII. These were created to be used during the winter and were made from rabbit fur. These suits did not contain name tags or any identifiable markings, the pilots did have the option of wearing a name tag inside of their suit should they choose to do so but it was not a requirement. Electric wiring was also placed inside of the suits within a few of the pockets and along the waist section of the suit. Their flight suit also included space for a sword. Today flight suits worn by the Japanese Air Defense Force have been redesigned to be lighter and they also include an insignia as well.
The Bulgaria Air Force
The Bulgarian Air Force flight suit is made from soft suede leather. It also includes a fur lining. These flight suits were worn during the earlier days. Today their suits are similar to those of the US and they too have incorporated the Nomex material in their flight suit designs.
The German Air Forces
The flight suits of the German Air Force are made by Marquardt and Schulz. These suits are regularly upgraded and modified, this explains their different styles.
During their time upgrading their flight suits they have referred to their suits using different terminology over the years and have created suits of varying color combinations as well. The dark grey suits have an insignia of the air forces; this also includes the rank of the pilot or soldier that can be found on their breast pocket. In some cases it can be located in the shoulder region. The olive green suits are used for pilots that are assigned to helicopters. The orange suits are designed and created by a different company, they also have many pockets. This feature helps to identify the ground maintenance personnel more easily.
French Army Light Aviation (ALAT)
The French Army Light Aviation divisions of the French military has flight suits that are light, commonly short sleeved, and are tan in color. The other designs that they use are olive green in color, are long sleeved, and are heavier. This combination makes this flight suit ideal for harsh weather conditions during missions. These flight suits contain pockets on the sleeve and also include Velcro patches.
In summary, most countries use the Nomex fabric for their flight suits and are very similar in design, color, and durability. The kind of flight suits being sold commercially are not as high quality as the military-issued for obvious reasons such as price, non-combat use, and security.
These flights suits however are very similar to racing suits, firemen suits, and the basic structure for space suits. They are considered as industrial suits. What this means is that it is not just the material that is special but also the lining, zippers, and fastenings. The normal flight suit has 6 pockets minimum and each pocket can be opened with one hand.
Their colors are bland and similar to ground crew and soldiers uniforms because they should blend in rather than stand out. This is done for their security and to protect their identities when necessary.
For many countries, the patches worn are also for the exclusive use of the air force personnel and have exact placements on the flight suits. In short, they cannot be sewn just anywhere in the suit nor can unauthorized patches be sewn in.
*Note: Some Images were taken from www.eurofighter.com