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ECWCS Gen III
Generation III of the Extended Cold-Weather Clothing System, or Gen III ECWCS, is a major upgrade and redesign of the earlier generations of ECWCS. While some elements of ECWCS I and ECWCS II have been retained, the most significant items have been replaced. The result is a small and light ensemble of clothing that will meet the Soldier's needs for warmth, comfort and water protection across a wide range of temperatures and conditions.
ECWCS parkas, trousers and other elements are widely available as surplus/militaria or as commercial equivalents or substitutes. When buying, pay careful attention to the specifications to make sure what you purchase is either military issue or meets the same government specifications.
Generation III of the Extended Cold Weather Clothing System (ECWCS)
By the mid-2000s, the U.S. military decided on a new generation of cold weather clothing, a full replacement for Gen II ECWCS and, at the same time, legacy items such as the M65 Field Jacket. The new cold weather uniform, developed by United States Army Natick Soldier Center in Natick, MA, starting in December 2003, became known as generation III of the Extended Cold-Weather Clothing System or Gen III ECWCS (pronounced Ek-wax). PEO Soldier drove the development and distribution of Gen III ECWCS through a Rapid Fielding Initiative (RFI v8.3). The Army began testing Gen III in 2004, with 10th Mountain Division and the 82nd Airborne Division. The 49th Missile Defense Battalion in Alaska and a few other units received it ahead of schedule, based on their mission. The 10th Mountain Division field-tested 18,000 Gen III ECWCS units in Afghanistan in the fall of 2006 and winter of 2007. In August 2007, the 73rd Cavalry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division in Afghanistan received Gen III ECWCS. General issue of Gen III ECWCS started in July 2008, first to 2nd Infantry Division, then with priority given to soldiers in or deploying to Afghanistan, Alaska, South Korea, Bosnia, and Kosovo.
The ECWCS Gen II was criticized for bulkiness and lack of breathability. Soldiers stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan complained of overheating when active and feeling uncomfortably cold when standing still. ECWCS was also too bulky, constricting movement when worn and taking up too much space when packed. A superior response to NIR (Near Infrared) was needed to make the garments less vulnerable to night vision equipment. And there were design problems such as the tendency of the hood to funnel rain down the wearer's back.
To deal with all these issues, Gen III ECWCS is a radical redesign that requires 33 percent less space and weighs 25 percent less than previous generations. Each piece in the Generation III ECWCS fits and functions either alone or together as a system to provide the most options for the Soldier, enabling seamless integration with load bearing equipment and Interceptor Body Armor. The Gen III ECWCS design lets moisture escape into the air, rather than being trapped inside the clothing, while blocking outside moisture from entering.
On 3 Jan 2007, ADS, Inc. received a U.S. Army contract to manage and procure ECWCS Gen III components. ADS, an award winning vendor to the DoD, is the lead integrator to fulfill the Army's requirements.
The Generation II ECWCS parka and trousers continued in use after introduction of Generation III, serving as an additional layer to the Generation III system. Generation I components in Woodland and Desert camouflage were issued until stocks were exhausted. During the changeover period, mixtures of Gen I - Gen II - Gen III components were used. In the U.S. Marine Corps, the APECS solution was adopted in place of Generation III ECWCS.
In practical use, the Gen III ECWCS Layer system performs due to the interaction of:
By mixing and matching ECWCS Gen III components, military users can protect themselves from weather in the range +40° F to as frigid as -60° F.
Generation III ECWCS Components
ECWCS GEN III features a 12-piece set of component items that enable Soldiers to wear up to seven different layers, depending upon how cold it is. The seven layers and twelve components are:
Generation III ECWCS Accessories
ECWCS Gen III is defined by the seven levels of protective clothing defined above. Accessories worn with Gen III ECWCS are primarily selected from existing military stock numbers for items such as boots, gloves, face protection and more. The list of items that could be worn as ECWCS Gen III accessories is quite long and the content of the list will change as items are replaced by newly developed items. Commercial substitutes are authorized for many of these items. Examples include:
Find More Information on the Internet
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