19 May 2009, further news today from Armytimes.com
Soldiers to test new Army Combat Pants
by Matthew CoxSoldiers in Afghanistan will test the new Army Combat Pants, which are rugged trousers designed to stand up to the mountainous country’s jagged terrain.
The pants will be tested this fall, Army officials said. Program Executive Office Soldier began developing the new pants last spring after soldiers complained the standard and fire-resistant versions of the Army Combat Uniforms were wearing out too quickly during mountain operations.“They were not designed for that kind of environment,” said Jeff Myhre, assistant product manager for Fire Resistant clothing. “Really the only way to get down [steep slopes] is slide down on their rear end, and sometimes when they are climbing, it’s foot-knee, foot-knee to get up to altitude.”The current version of the ACP features built-in hard kneepads that can be adjusted up or down and side to side for comfort. The material is heavy, 7.3-ounce fire-resistant twill compared to the 6.5-ounce fire-resistant fabric in the fire-resistant ACUs.
The back pockets have flaps with Velcro fasteners rather than buttons that can easily rip off when soldiers slide down steep rock faces on their backsides, Myhre said.The reinforced seat is designed to stretch for better range of motion, and the cargo pocket on the calf of the leg is larger to hold more mission-essential items, Myhre said.The ACP prototypes have been through two soldier evaluations, one with the 75th Ranger Regiment and one with the West Virginia Army National Guard.Rangers tested them while training on airborne, air assault and shoot-house operations. Mounted cavalry soldiers from the West Virginia Guard wore them while climbing in and out of vehicles during training.Equipment officials are preparing to have soldiers evaluate about 3,000 pairs of the latest prototype this fall in Afghanistan.The evaluation is slated to last 30 to 45 days.“Barring any small incremental changes we will do to the pants … we will look to the Army to determine is there is a requirement” to field the ACP, Myhre said.If all goes as planned, the Army could decide to field the ACP sometime in mid-2010.The Army Combat Pants are designed to match for the Army Combat Shirt already in general issue (see below).Its about time that the Army woke up to the fact that a “universal” uniform designed to be suitable for both garrison and combat duty is a pointless compromise of both missions. Now, if only they’d also wake up to the fallacy of “universal” camouflage….Under the authority of FAR 6.302-1, the U.S. Army, REDCOM, Natick Contracting Division, Kansas Street, Natick, MA on behalf of the United States Army Soldier System Center, Natick, MA intends to negotiate a purchase order to Massif Mountain Gear Company, 415 Williamson Way, Ste 1. Ashland, OR 07250. This is for the purchase of Army Combat Pants. The purchase is for the testing and evaluation as part of the ongoing R&D efforts to design and build a functional, durable and fire resistant ACP.