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Improved Chemical Warfare Suits Tested at Natick

Chemical Warfare gear has come a long way since John Haldane developed the veil respirator during World War I, and further still since the soldiers in the trenches soaked cloth in piss and covered their faces in it. Although we don’t deal with the same chlorine, phosgene, mustard and Lewisite they did, NBC (Nuclear, Biological, Chemical) attacks are obviously still a concern in the military today. In many circles it’s a topic of interest to civilians as well.

One of the biggest problems with wearing a MOPP ensemble (or any of its predecessors) is how hot and stifling it is; what the military calls the “thermal burden.” According to Military.com, that thermal burden is the current focus of Army and Air Force attention. According to Kit Up!, NRSDEC (U.S. Army Natick Soldier Research Development and Engineering Center) is working on newer, cooler chem warfare suits and are testing them at Maryland’s Aberdeen Proving Ground.

Say’s KU’s Mike Hoffman,

“The effort is called the Integrated Protective Fabric System program…Engineers have designed a cooler suit by altering the fabrics where soldiers and airmen produce the most heat such as the chest and groin.  Meanwhile the new suits reinforce areas where soldiers and airmen would likely come in contact with a chemical agent like the elbow or knee…”

As with many things there is sure to be some sort of cross-pollination from military to civilian technologies (or vice versa) at some point. Read the article in its entirety here.


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