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Posts Tagged ‘PCU’

SOCOM Adopts Polartec Alpha as Insulation for PCU Level 3a

Friday, January 11th, 2013

This isn’t the first time that we’ve mentioned SOCOM’s Block 2 PCU Level 3a or its use of Polartec’s materials. Polartec has a long history of providing innovative fabric solutions for not only SOCOM’s Protective Combat Uniform program but for all of DoD. What’s more, their manufacturing partner is Patagonia. They too have a long history of supporting SOF and other specialized units going back to the 80s. In 3ID LRS I was issued blue Patagonia polypropylene long underwear and pile jacket and overalls in Germany in the late 80s. Later, Patagonia developed the Military Advanced Regulator System. Now, they are responsible for the design and manufacture of PCU. Below is the press release on this new insulation technology option for USSOCOM.

Polartec and Patagonia Collaborate to Provide Breakthrough Fabric Technology to Every Special Forces Operator
Patagonia PCU L3aJanuary 8, 2013 – (Lawrence, Mass.) – Polartec, the developer, manufacturer, and marketer of Polartec performance fabrics, has worked closely with the U.S. Special Operations Forces (SOF) to develop Polartec®Alpha, a new synthetic insulation technology that creates the first-ever breathable “puffy” garments for active warmth. The Special Forces are the first adopters of this breakthrough fabric technology and are presently fielding Polartec Alpha jackets designed by Patagonia to all SOF operators.

POL_Alpha_smallUnlike down and existing synthetic insulations, Polartec Alpha provides active warmth that allows air exchange for breathability and comfort in more dynamic situations. It was developed to meet the specific performance requirements of the United States Military Special Operations Forces. The development brief required materials that are warm, wind resistant, highly durable, quick drying and more breathable than any existing insulation products. In field and lab testing, Polartec Alpha received the highest testing results of any Polartec product ever tested by the Special Operations Forces evaluation team. The garment will replace two to three layers, reducing costs, saving weight in the field and improving combat effectiveness.

In close collaboration with Polartec, Patagonia designed and developed the overall garment design for SOF. The company spent months maximizing the details of the design to take full advantage of the performance characteristics of Polartec Alpha. The final product is the SOF Protective Combat Uniform Level 3A Jacket, a standard issue piece fielded to every Special Forces Operator in the service.

“Polartec Alpha is a significant technical achievement that has created an entirely new class of fabric technology,” says David Costello, Polartec’s Military Business Manager. “This fabric innovation has been made possible due to our longstanding relationship with the Special Forces and has come to fruition in a final garment through the creativity and drive of the Patagonia design team. The demanding mission profile of the SOF operators requires absolute performance from every element of the operator’s ensemble. Polartec Alpha meets this test and has tremendous potential as a platform for future development.”

“Patagonia constantly works with suppliers to push the limits of what is possible. We have been pushing these limits with Polartec for several decades now; the result has been many groundbreaking products over the course of those years, culminating into this pinnacle innovation. This technology allows technical product designer/developers an interesting new challenge for the next several years; to ‘dial in’ the perfect CFM (or breathability) of a low loft garment,” says Eric Neuron, Patagonia’s Director of Strategic Product. “Without the demands and feedback from Special Forces Operators, this jacket and technology would not exist. We are very proud to support their needs. ”

Polartec Integral Technology for SOF PCU Lvl 9 Combat Shirt

Thursday, September 27th, 2012

Polartec, the developer, manufacturer, and marketer of Polartec performance fabrics, has worked closely with US Special Operations Forces and one of their fabrics was chosen for use in the first standard issue combat shirt developed specifically for the needs of SOF.

Designed by Patagonia, the Special Operations Forces’ (SOF) Protective Combat Uniform (PCU) Level 9 Shirt is currently being fielded to all US SOF users, and will enhance their combat advantage in the world’s most hostile conditions.

Designed to be worn next-to-skin, the new PCU level 9 combat shirt integrates Polartec Power Dry fabric in the shirt’s torso to provide moisture management, breathability, stretch, quick drying and comfort. Power Dry features a patented bi?component knit construction with two yarns. One picks up the sweat from the skin and the other disperses the sweat to the outer layer to rapidly dry it. It moves 30% more moisture than single component fabrics.
The Power Dry used in Level 9 is printed in a variety of camo patterns and also offers FR properties.

“Polartec is very proud of our longstanding development relationship with the Special Operations Forces. We are constantly challenged by the extreme performance that Operators demand of their clothing and equipment. These men are the tip of the spear of our country’s projection of power and always exhibit remarkable ability and patriotism. To be selected by this very demanding customer is a tribute to the abilities of the research and development team at Polartec who are honored to help support our warfighters.” said David Costello, Polartec Business Manager.

Polartec fabrics are found throughout PCU; in levels 1, 2, 3, 3A, and now 9. Additionally, Polartec offers numerous fabric solutions including wicking base layers, to insulation layers, to extreme weather protection and are utilized by the best clothing brands in the world

polartec.com

Latest PCU Level 9 in Action

Tuesday, June 12th, 2012

This photo taken during the exercise Fuerzas Comando 2012 shows a US Army Special Forces member wearing the latest version of the Protective Combat Uniform level 9 garment we recently featured. However, he is not wearing the purpose-built kneepads.

Photo – US Army SFC Keith Turner

PCU Pocket Users Guide

Monday, June 4th, 2012

In concert with Kwikpoint, makers of waterproof basic language guides currently in use in theater, ADS is offering a pocket users guide describing PCU components, environmental conditions and a wheel to help the user correlate components with conditions. Although the aide memoire depicts the Block 1 version of PCU the garments of Block 2 are quite similar and function in the same way. In fact, it is a must for users of any multi-component environmental clothing system.

PCU Level 9 Kneepads

Thursday, May 24th, 2012

Yesterday, we showed you a picture of the knee of USSOCOM’s Protective Combat Uniform level 9 combat uniform component manufactured by ReadyOne. You may have noticed these interesting holes on the corners of the double knee.

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The holes are for a new two-part kneepad system developed by Patagonia for this uniform.

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The two-piece design consists of a foam padding component that fits inside the double knee through a slot in the bottom that is secured with Velcro. The male portions of the snaps are aligned in the four holes located at the corners of the double knee and the outer, hard plastic shell is snapped into place, providing abrasion resistance and protection from sharp objects.

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As you can see, they snap together and fit through those holes. These are only made for the PCU Level 9 and are not compatible with any other system.

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As an added bonus here is a snapshot of the Block 2 PCU Level 3A we wrote about back in January. It uses a Polartec fleece-based insulation sandwiched between a level 4 face fabric and a soft nylon backer fabric. As you can see, it is quilted like the old field jacket liner and is very comfortable. Level 3 now offers 3 options. The classic fleece level 3 jacket, this model (3A) and the 3B which features a WL Gore fabric story.

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PCU Block 2 Preview

Thursday, January 26th, 2012

SSD recently had an opportunity to check the latest prototypes from USSOCOM’s Protective Combat Uniform Block 2.

Designed to be worn in temperatures ranging from 40 deg to -50 deg F, PCU is a 8 level environmental clothing system consisting of a variety of performance clothing items that can be configured based on conditions. For PCU, moisture management is a key feature driving its development. Keeping Operators dry, keeps them in the fight.

The original Block 0 configuration was fielded beginning in 2003 based on gear selections from PEPSE (Personal Environmental Protective Survival Equipment) and espousing wear principles from Mark Twight‘s seminal work on climbing, “Extreme Alpinism“. In 2006, USSOCOM charged their support office at Natick to make incremental improvements to the system based on user feedback and streamline the production process, facilitating a partnership between major outdoor manufacturers and National Industries for the Severely Handicapped.

Recently, to further modernize the system for the evolving needs of the SOF Operator and to insert the latest outdoor technologies, Natick’s PM-SOF sat down with representatives from the various stakeholders and went through Block 1 level by level. Based on these meetings, and some field trials of the new designs by 10th SFG(A) and NSW Det-Kodiak, the upcoming Block 2 system will feature a few changes.

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Environmental Clothing Systems ADS Tactical

Friday, April 2nd, 2010

ADS Inc, lead system integrator for both ECWCS Gen III and FREE has just published a comprehensive look at both systems as well as SOCOM’s Protective Combat Uniform. It is a great resource for anyone looking to gain a basic understanding of these systems or their histories. Check it out at www.adsinc.com.

Beyond Tactical’s PCU Lvl 9

Monday, January 25th, 2010

Beyond Tactical's level 9Beyond Tactical exhibited their PCU lvl 9 shirt and pants at SHOT Show. Based on work completed to produce a specialized combat uniform, the Beyond product is available as a custom fitted item. This example was made from an FR fabric, but they are available in several different fabrics and colors. Contact www.beyondtactical.com for more information. Make sure you ask them about their Travel Shirt which has been in development hell since summer.

More on PCU Level 9 – Well Sorta

Friday, September 11th, 2009

*Updated* I received a call the other day asking of I had seen the new Patagonia Combat Uniforms. I hadn’t and the last word I had received was that Patagonia was out of the contract game. But just when you think Patagonia has called it quits, they up and release new military products. Apparently, some prototypes of a hard shell were produced in Viet Nam and photos of this garment’s tag have shown up on the web incorrectly purporting to be from a Level 9 garment. But really this is just the tip of the iceberg. The plan is to develop an entirely new Berry compliant clothing system and most of it is already done. Apparently however, the combat uniform piece is still in development and won’t be the same as the PCU Level 9. The whole system is sort of a “Son of MARS” only leveraging the latest Patagonia technology. Prototypes of several of the pieces are floating around some of the units already so it won’t be long before we see photos.

Patagonia did participate in the development of the Level 9 component of PCU which is produced under contract by Ready One. Thus far, all currently issued PCU components carry a Patagonia tag and the new Level 9 garment will as well. Commercial versions of Level 9 are currently available from Beyond Tactical.

We are hoping to see photos soon and wondering how much they will go for once they hit eBay.

Thanks to Rob for confusing the hell out of me.

Beyond Tactical Level 9 Uniform

Thursday, September 3rd, 2009

Beyond Clothing has released the first substantive photo of their elusive PCU level 9 uniform.

Level 9 Uniform

The latest version of the Advantage Tactical Pant is available now in Black, Khaki, Multicam, or UCP.