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Archive for the ‘PM-SSS’ Category

Outdoor Research Modular Glove System

Monday, November 10th, 2008

USSOCOM has awarded Outdoor Research, Inc. (OR), a $54 million, five-year contract to manufacture the Outdoor Research Generation II Modular Glove System for U.S. Special Operations Forces (SOF). What is important about this announcement is that it is for the second generation glove system. In 2001 OR was also awarded a Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) grant to develop the original modular glove system. Although a full contract was never awarded for full procurement due to competing priorities for dollars, the handwear developed under the SBIR was purchased with unit O&M dollars. Additionally, the research yielded excellent results and brought OR’s military and commercial lines further forward. This latest generation of handwear is FR and offered in brown rather then the black of the earlier family of gloves. The FR fabrics are offered in conjunction with Massif.

The system consists of five types of compatible handwear: a contact glove, a flame resistant combat glove, an intermediate waterproof glove, an extreme cold weather waterproof glove, and extreme cold weather waterproof mitt. Each set of gloves is Berry compliant and can be worn alone or in conjunction with other pieces in the system. I had an opportunity to look at the individual pieces at Outdoor Retailer and am very impressed. The gloves are for the most part refinements of military gloves they have been producing for the last couple of years. I have been using OR gloves for over ten years and these are the best products they have ever developed.

I think mountaineering legend Mark Twight sums it up best. “Using modern materials and their up-all-night ingenuity, the designers worked closely with military users to develop the Modular Glove System,” said Mark Twight, elite alpinist. “For over 20 years, OR has been testing handwear in the harshest environments on earth. No company is better positioned to build gloves for the U.S. Special Operations Forces.”

For more information visit Outdoor Research. The SOCOM Gen II Modular Glove System is available for purchase from ADS.

Outdoor Research Modular Glove System

Outdoor Research Modular Glove System, Generation II: Firebrand Mitt (top left), Firebrand Glove (top right), Poseidon Glove (bottom left), Overlord Shorty (bottom center), Hurricane Glove (bottom right).

Photo courtesy of Outdoor Research.

Bates Wins Special Operations Forces Contract to Manufacture High Performance Tactical Combat Boot

Friday, September 26th, 2008

SOF Lightweight Combat Boot

Bates developed the Tactical Combat Boot specifically to provide enhanced durability, stability, and traction in urban and field operations. The Vibram® Mutant outsole creates superior traction on wet and dry surfaces, while the direct-attach construction provides superior cushioning and durability. The anti-bacterial, abrasion-resistant Dri-Lex® Camo lining delivers enhanced moisture management and ensures soldiers’ feet remain cool, dry and comfortable.

“Bates is committed to being the leader in providing footwear solutions for all branches of the US Military – We intend to achieve this goal by leveraging a wide range of technologies and development expertise throughout Wolverine World Wide’s array of footwear brands such as Merrell and Wolverine Brand,” said Ron Woznick, Vice President and General Manager of Bates Footwear. “We feel privileged to provide yet another new footwear solution for our nation’s elite combat forces needs.”

The Special Forces Tactical Combat Boot joins the Chem Bio Protective Overboot and the Tora Bora(TM) Alpine Combat Boot as the mission footwear of choice for the Special Forces. All three products are manufactured with 100% domestic materials at Bates facilities in Big Rapids, Michigan and Jonesboro, Arkansas, maintaining the company’s commitment to manufacturing in the United States.

Bates is a leading supplier of uniform footwear to all branches of the U.S. military and has been building a reputation for uncompromising performance in uniform footwear for more than 120 years. Engineered advancements such as Bates DuraShocks® comfort system, Ultra-Lites® technology and Bates Individual Comfort System combine to set the brand apart and cement its status as the gold standard in uniform footwear. For more information and to view product lines, visit

With a commitment to service and product excellence, Wolverine World Wide, Inc. is one of the world’s leading marketers of branded casual, active lifestyle, work, outdoor sport, uniform footwear and apparel. Wolverine’s portfolio of highly recognized brands includes: Bates®, Hush Puppies®, HYTEST®, Merrell®, Sebago® and Wolverine®. The Company is also the exclusive footwear licensee of popular brands including CAT®, Harley- Davidson® and Patagonia®. The Company’s products are carried by leading retailers in the U.S. and globally in nearly 200 countries.

PCU Alternate Source of Supply ADS

Thursday, July 24th, 2008

ADSBeyond Tactical

ADS and Beyond Tactical are proud to announce that they are beginning to offer the complete Protective Combat Uniform in the issue Ranger Green as well as Coyote. Available as an entire kit or as individual components, this is an excellent opportunity for units requiring PCU out of the procurement cycle as well as for units or individuals that wish to upgrade their current environmental clothing system. In addition to standard sizes, customers will be able to take advantage of Beyond’s custom sizing program. Originally conceived in the fall of 2001 by PM-SSS in order to satisfy an urgent need for operational clothing to combat the environment of Afghanistan, PCU is a clothing system consisting of seven levels used in concert with one another based on activity and environment.

Visual PCU Guide

ADS has gone one step further by developing an excellent DVD which provides an overview of PCU components and their use as well as some excellent background on the system’s design philosophy by the “Godfather” of PCU; Mark Twight. In concert with Kwikpoint, makers of the 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. This has been needed for a long time and is a must for even current users of multi-component environmental clothing systems.

Visual Users Guide - PCU

The user guide is available from Kwikpoint.

Look for a future article with more details on PCU.

Contact ADS or Beyond Tactical for more information.

User guide graphics property of Kwikpoint.

Mountain Boots

Friday, July 4th, 2008

The history of dedicated footwear for mountain warfare traces its way back to WWII. A square toed, brown, smooth leather boot with tongue and groove on the sole for ski bindings was issued to the 10th Mountain and First Special Service Force. Mountain boots would remain a Special Forces standard issue item up until today.

WWII Mountain Boot

Although members of 10th SFG(A) stationed in Bad Toelz, Germany privately purchased mountain boots from local cobblers in the 50s and 60s, the issue Mountain Boot remained relatively unchanged. The infamous “Chips” or Chippewa Mountain Boots were a Special forces staple up until the late 80s. They were also issued to the 10th Mountain Division during their initial stand up. Featuring bright steel speed lace hooks, thick felt insoles that never dried out, and a sole with a tongue and groove to fit the old issue “suicide stick” skis, the design had barely changed from WWII. Wearing them was like walking around with bricks strapped to your feet but no self-respecting member of 10th Group would be caught without them.

Chippewa Ski Moutain Boot

But as the 90s wore on the US was without an issue Mountain Boot. Influenced by 1/10th SF’s experience at Bad Toelz and later in Stuttgart, over time SOF units issued boots from Koflach, Raichle, Lowa and eventually La Sportiva who manufactured a special black version of the ever popular Lhotse for US forces operating in Afghanistan. Ironically, the brown leather Lhotse was better suited to military operations than the black model. But the major weakness that all of these highly specialized European brands was just that; they were European. The Berry Amendment requires that US forces must use US textiles. Unfortunately, at the time there was no US manufacturer of hard core Mountaineering Boots.

La Sportiva Lhotse in Black

As an interim, both the Marine Corps and Army are issuing Danner Mountain Boots although they are different models. Danner has developed a dedicated boot for mountain operations for the Marine Corps that was unveiled earlier this year. The Mountain Cold Weather Boot is brown and features an abrasion resistant toe and heel cap as well as a Gore-tex lining. Each pair comes with a new sock system for cold weather.

USMC Danner Mountain Cold Weather Boot

The Army on the other hand has chosen to issue a commercially available Danner to members of the 173d and 101st. Combining leather with nylon fabric panels, the Army’s boot stops just above the ankle resembling a hiking more than a combat boot. PEO-Soldier officials have been very clear that these are an interim solution and in no way intended to replace the current issue boot. For that, the Army is hedging their bets on a new modular boot system set to debut in 2009.

Danner Combat Hiker

Both the Army and Marine Corps solutions are really more trekking boots than actual Mountain Boots. To fill this void in the US military’s family of footwear, they have turned to Bates Footwear and their new Tora Bora model which they are touting as the Tora Bora Alpine Combat Boot. Originally a SOCOM requirement, the user community for the Tora Bora but it is expected to eventually include both the Marine Corps and Army.

Bates Tora Bora Alpine Combat Boot

For more information on the Danner Combat Hiker contact Danner.

For more information on the new Tora Bora, go to Bates.

PCU Going Green?

Monday, May 26th, 2008

There has been much talk over the past few years about “green” technologies. To some this means recycled materials and to some it means renewable supplies. For Natick’s Program Manager for SOF Survivability Systems green technologies are a move from olefin-based materials to natural based fibers. The largest concern is that the natural materials provide similar durability and performance as the currently used petroleum-based ones. One technology that has shown promise is bamboo fibers treated with coconut oil. At the recent Soldier Systems APBI representatives from PM-SSS briefed that these new green technologies might find their way as early as FY09 into the Protective Combat Uniform program or another combat uniform. While it remains rumor, there has been a great deal of buzz over SOCOM developing a new camouflage pattern and that a solicitation for both a pattern and new combat uniform may come in FY09.