Special Operations Command plans to acquire new uniforms and a suite of wearable technologies for its warfighters, a program official said May 25.
After years of fighting in the desert climates of the Middle East, U.S. commandos need to be prepared to operate in the Arctic and the jungle, said Adam Fields, SOCOM’s program manager for survival, support and equipment systems.
“We haven’t been fighting in those areas,” he said in an interview following a briefing on his portfolio at the National Defense Industrial Association's Special Operations Forces Industry Conference. “It’s going to be different things that we need.”
Operators in the Arctic must be able to tolerate temperatures 50 degrees below zero, he said. “We want to reduce bulk as much as possible so the guys aren’t simply surviving in the Arctic but they’re actually able to do their job,” he said “It’s mostly about reducing weight and bulk.”
In the jungle, uniforms need to counteract heavy rainfall and high humidity, Fields said. “We want to be able to get the moisture off of the operator [and] we also don’t want the uniforms to get soaked after five minutes,” he said.
The uniform needs to be durable in heavy brush, which can tear materials when troops are on the move. “You need to make it strong but absorb water but quickly dry and protect them from that sort of thing,” he said.