Underwear for all weather in development


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May 5, 2007

If a project sponsored by Air Force Special Operations Command succeeds, airmen soon may be able to wear the same T-shirt or socks for days without stinking up their tent, or own bulk-free cold-weather gear that’s light enough to cram into a small stuff sack.

At Hurlburt Field, Fla., home to AFSOC headquarters, Dan Beal coordinates a project he refers to as “austere environment undergarments.”...


Senior Master Sgt. Bob Pike models a long-sleeve undershirt designed for special operations airmen.

Pararescuemen and combat controllers said during wear tests that don't like shoulder seams that can carve into their skin under the weight of heavy pack loads.

The fabric tested did a good job repelling flight line oil.


The Air Force is planning to work with the Georgia Institute of Technology to create a fabric treatment that may prevent the cloth from catching fire even after prolonged exposure to flames.


If Air Force Special Operations Command is approved to mass produce the underwear, officials expect a full set of the winter-weight and summer-weight gear to cost about $20.


Durability is a top concern, Air Force officials say. One test T-shirt has reportedly withstood about 1,800 machine washings.


Officials say they want a fabric that is less bulky and able to fend off bacteria that can cause athlete's foot or rashes.