The next generation of the U.S. Army Extended Climate Warfighter Clothing System (ECWCS), GEN III goes beyond ordinary military cold weather clothing. With seven levels of protection for unpredictable environmental conditions, GEN III ECWCS is used for training, operating, and combat in all climate ranges. The garments protect a soldier in temperatures ranging from -40°F to 60°F, and as an upgrade to GEN II, the cold weather clothing system adds four additional levels.
Earlier this decade, soldiers complained about the bulkiness of GEN II, and development for a new military cold weather clothing system began in 2003. GEN III was tested first in 2004 with the 10th Mountain Division and 82nd Airborne Division before being issued four years later.
GEN III is not the only cold weather clothing system used by the military, however. Protective Combat Uniform (PCU) takes preparedness for extreme conditions to the highest level possible. As a replacement for LEP, PCU was developed by Special Projects Team, who consulted with extreme alpinists and outdoor apparel companies to develop the clothing system.
15 garments, used over seven levels, protect soldiers in temperatures ranging from -50°F to 45°F. Much like GEN III, PCU uses insulation and moisture-wicking properties through three groups of layers. Lower levels, made from Polartec, are worn next to the skin and wick away perspiration, while mid-level garments keep heat in. Upper level shell garments are made from fibers encapsulated with silicon by Nextec Applications, and are stretchable, windproof, water repellant, and breathable.
Other cold weather clothing systems incorporate fire-retardant materials. New Balance System 7 (NBS7) incorporates Tencate's Defender M, as well as materials from Cocona and Drifire, for full environmental and flame protection. NBS7 consists of seven levels of breathable and water repellant garments, all of which are lightweight and packable and have integrated sizing with standard uniforms.
Cold weather clothing, such as GEN III and NBS7, uses the latest camouflage patterns. Although Universal Camouflage Pattern (UCP) has been the dominant grey and green color combination since 2004, MultiCam®, also known as Operation Enduring Freedom Camouflage Pattern (OCP), is in use in Afghanistan. GEN III and NBS7 both have shell layers designed in MultiCam®.
Developed by Crye Associates with PEO Soldier Systems, MultiCam® is a multi-environmental camouflage pattern. By taking an overall green or tan appearance, MultiCam® reflects the surrounding area and allows the wearer to hide in various seasons, lights, and elevations. A brown to light tan gradient forms the foundation of OCP, and drab green, with dark brown and pink blotches, is dispersed in between. The combination of these shades tricks the human eyes' perception of color.
The Official GEN III ECWCS authorized for U.S. Army issues is available exclusively through ADS. To learn more about GEN III ECWCS, other cold weather clothing systems, and MultiCam®, visit ADSInc.com for more information.
MultiCam® is a multi-environmental camouflage pattern. By taking an overall green or tan appearance, MultiCam® reflects the surrounding area and allows the wearer to hide in various seasons, lights, and elevations. A brown to light tan gradient forms the foundation of OCP, and drab green, with dark brown and pink blotches, is dispersed in between. The combination of these shades tricks the human eyes' perception of color.