FN Herstal

SOCOM Seeking New Materials for Jungle Uniform

Last week, Program Manager (PM) Special Operations Forces (SOF) Survival Support and Equipment Systems (SSES) issued a Request for Information For Jungle Uniform Development and Evaluation Materials. Specifically, they are conducting market research to identify candidate materials for use in hot wet climates (tropical to jungle). I’ve gone into quite a bit of detail regarding the US Army’s interest in similar fabrics earlier this year so feel free to go check that out here if you are interested in some additional background.

Here’s what they are specifically interested in:

The jungle uniform, in a design to be determined, will consist of a jacket, trousers and cap. The evaluation is to identify performance parameters of both materials and design to meet user identified needs to include moisture management, comfort, insect protection, signature management and compatibility with individual equipment. Testing will be conducted by equal number of evaluators for each design including field evaluations in various tropical jungle environments while conducting military tasks. At the completion of field evaluations users may determine the acceptability of each uniform. Upon completion of testing one or more designs and material may be selected for production to meet the current requirement and a production run then executed. An optional block two evaluation, if needed to refine desired characteristics and performance, will be conducted by users again in tropical/jungles environments conducting military tasks.

Performance Attributes in priority order:

Comfort:
Quick drying
Breathable
Not sticking when wet (to skin)
Friction
Thermal (ability to dissipate heat)

Personal Signature Management:
Visual:
NIR or ability to be met.
Available print patterns and or ability to be printed.

Durability:
Tear strength (wet and dry)
Seam strength (wet and dry)
Puncture and tear propagation
Laundering
Colorfastness to laundering, light, and perspiration.

Insect Resistance:
Physical barrier
Treatment (DEET/Permethrin, other)
UV protection

Responses:

Material Samples:
Respondents that believe they can provide materials that meet the Government’s performance requirements are invited to submit material samples with their written responses. These samples will be degraded or destroyed during evaluation and will not be returned to the respondent. In addition, the respondent must provide the following information on the submitted samples.
1. A material description, fiber blend percentages, and Berry compliance documentation. The supplier must identify the performance of the submitted material.
2. If a supplier submits multiple materials, it is requested that they identify the advantage/disadvantages of their competing products.
3. Provide an estimated unit cost (linear yards for fabric and unit item cost for end item)
4. Submit minimum of one (1), but preferably five (5) linear yards in any color.
5. The finished cloth or end item shall not present a dermal health hazard when used as intended and tested. The respondent must furnish information, which certifies that the finished product is composed of materials, which have been safely used commercially or provided sufficient toxicity data to show compatibility with prolonged, direct skin contact

If you’re interested, you’ve got until 28 August to respond. I’m sure they’ll also be checking out what’s available at next week’s Outdoor Retailer Summer Market in Salt Lake City. For full details visit www.fbo.gov.

42 Responses to “SOCOM Seeking New Materials for Jungle Uniform”

  1. Mark says:

    Gee… I don’t know… but… HOW ABOUT THE HWBDU which was in the system and just fine until we were all hit by the bright idea comet.

    This goes along with the “We need a tropical combat boot” thing… Gee- what did we have before that WORKED FINE?

  2. bulldog76 says:

    so is OG 107 on the table again …….

  3. Mick says:

    And it has to be in MultiCam Tropic.

    Wait, MultiCam? What’s that? I meant Scorpion W2 Tropic.

  4. Orly? says:

    Go go US textile industry

  5. CAVstrong says:

    …..I’m begining to think the NDAA needs bigger teeth. This seems to be getting a bit out of hand. At somepoint someone in the DoD needs to step up and say here is the Camo and uniforms you are authorized to wear…no deviations allowed.

    • bulldog76 says:

      we haven’t had a good jungle uniform since vietnam we are starting to pivot to the pacific so we actually need one unless you like getting burnt alive in some poly/cotton uniform

      • CAVstrong says:

        Not my point.

        Again it seems as if every branch/department is sprinting in its own direction to develop a very specific solution for a very broad problem. At somepoint the entire DoD ought to start working together and begin developing and mandating unififed systems and uniforms for the entire force in order increase utility and flexibility while decreasing fraud, waste and abuse.

        As for the Pacific Pivot….. our military relations with the People’s Republic of China have never been stronger. We have normalized relations with Vietnam and continue to have strong relations with South Korea, Japan and Australia/New Zealand. Our Relations with the Russian Federation continue to deteriorate daily…. you really think we’re going to continue to pivot to the Pacific?

        • bulldog76 says:

          more than likely we are gonna continue the pivot to the pacific the dealings with the former ussr are just like they where in 1983 weve gone back to the cold war, but another reason i see the need for a tropical uniform is operations in south and central america and operations in africa ….. but i do agree on one thing the service need to come together on this one ……

          • Mike Nomad says:

            “…operations in south and central america…” Yep. And it gets plenty warm along the Tex-Mex line. Given the noise Gov. GoodHair is making, I hope y’all like BBQ & Beer…

        • SSD says:

          He’s got a point. So far USMC, US Army and now USSOCOM are all looking for fabrics for the same application.

    • straps says:

      The teeth the NDAA needs is to cease “service branding” through camo UCP and whatever that Air Force thing is called), and to cease using camo to hide stains (Navy Blueberry). This has resulted in three service-specific debacles.

      The Army’s Camo improvement stud(ies) yielded good science. The first time the science was rejected in favor of UCP, the second time the science was rejected for pretend fiscal restraint (at the expense of the most basic life safety considerations). If it means the idiots who adopted UCP have to be pilloried, well, sorry GEN Schoomaker, we know you had a lot on your plate but UCP was a bad call. If you have an underling to serve up I know a few hundred thousand folks who have some questions. THEN serve’ em up to Congress.

      Good money after bad has value when it actually digs you out of a hole.

      Glad to see SOCOM do what it does best: prove concepts, define priorities and avoid noise.

  6. Samuel Leoon Suggs says:

    Sing it with me! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zhyzBSdZZ7U

  7. Mark says:

    Why not just get the OG 107’s back into the inventory ?

    That was the best uniform ever made !

  8. Scott says:

    A-tacs FG
    Done and done

  9. walter shumate says:

    just my dumb opinion, but I feel like the units in SOCOM who are doing work in a jungle environment ought to be cut loose to just buy COTS hot weather civilian clothing as the unit needs. There is the thing where SOCOM cool guy stuff serves as the test bed/precursor to whatever Big Army is gonna get to wear ten years later, but it seems like buying a shit load of Alpha Green Royal Robbins/TNF/Patagonia/RailRiders nylonish type “travel clothing” for a deployment would be better than designing a bunch of uniform for an environment too hot to salute, wear rank-n-insignia, armor or a helmet in. But what do I know…

    • ParatrooperJJ says:

      There are Geneva Convention issues here with not using uniforms.

      • SSD says:

        Sort of. There are ways to be in compliance without all looking exactly the same.

      • walter shumate says:

        I hadn’t thought of that… I’m way out of my lane and gonna shut up but I wonder if a big US flag patch would cover that legality. I was just thinking of a COTS solution in light of the smaller SOF unit size, and the specificity of the jungle/uniform environmental requirement. I’m guessing that an FID type mission would benefit from everyone looking professional, uniform, and showing the flag, but I was imagining more of a future MACV-SOG type grey area (all speculative of course) because I have no other frame of reference for SOF jungle combat, where a uniform would tend to be destroyed by the environment. Either way, a danger-hot weather uniform seems like a useful thing to have, but I keep thinking that we’re in a period of very rapid change, and that maybe old design, bid and procurement methods might be kind of shooting us (US) in the foot. It would suck to get beat by another nation that could adapt to change faster than us!

  10. Lasse says:

    I’m calling out WL Gore. Cannot remember the fabrics name, but the sample that I’ve seen seems to fit this.

  11. Strike-Hold says:

    TenCate. Contact TenCate.

  12. Mitchell Fuller says:

    KISS Jungle Uniform;

    NYCO fabric, it’s a proven fabric, it’s widely available, and cost effective.

    No reinforcements on jacket or trousers. They hold heat and when wet take longer to dry out then other parts of uniform.

    No double needle felled seams, they absorb a lot of water and take a long time to dry out, single seams chained stitched.

    Two way zipper on jacket and trousers, trousers fly made longer then on current trousers, longer fly just makes it easier when nature calls, especially when wearing equipment.

  13. Burned says:

    No FR / no melt requirement?

    • SSD says:

      They don’t have one now for Level 9. The IED threat is drastically different in a hot wet environment.