Late last month we covered testing being done by the U.S. Army's NSRDEC in regard to commercial camouflage materials and their ability to conceal the thermal signature of the soldiers wearing the various clothing and other concealment products. This provides just one more element of protection from detection by enemy forces. Yesterday it was announced that Milliken, a top fabric manufacturer for the U.S Military would be licensing thermal infrared protection technology from the Swiss company SSZ Camouflage Technology.
Milliken Military provides the Department of Defense with a wide variety of mil-spec fabrics for flame resistant coveralls and flight suits, cold weather clothing systems, baselayers, and a wide variety of other service specific uniforms. More recently they were awarded by R&D Magazine for their own FR material focused at combat uniforms and other clothing called ResQ™. The flame resistant fabric is 100% Made in the USA and promises more durability plus half the body burn when compared with the current FR ACU.
|SSZ Camoouflage Technology - Thermal Infrared Suit IRDB|
Now Milliken is licensing SSZ Camouflage Technology which reduces the thermal signature of the fabrics that they provide to the U.S. Military. SSZ Camouflage Technology has already developed their own infrared battle dress suit with a special lightweight fabric layered to a standard base fabric, along with a membrane for comfort. The fabrics surface emits less thermal energy than standard materials with a perceived reduction in temperature by as much as 50 degrees Fahrenheit. In comparison Cotton can reduce thermal emission by around 15-20 degrees Fahrenheit depending on the ambient temperature.
In the official press release it is noted that the Swiss Army has tested fabrics utilizing their technology and have shown that it still allows for comfort features including moisture wicking and breathing. This layer of concealment along with UV signature management, NIR Protection, and an effective camouflage pattern provide avoidance from enemy detection on many wavelengths. Combine these capabilities with a highly effective FR material and a whole new level of protection is provided for military personnel.