Unique Niche in Active Cooling/Heating and Hydration Space
Qore Performance, based in McLean, VA, is using AUSA 2019 to launch the ICEPLATE Carrier Exoskeleton (ICE) and ICE SHIELD Hand Warmer, emphasising the fact that the company’s products are to be found in all branches of the US military, including US Special Operations Command.
There are many household names among the customers for Qore products in the adjacent civil sector. “We have a handful of large US enterprises as customers who we are not allowed to discuss or disclose. Safety is one of our fastest growing lines of business and we are super excited about it because we leverage our learnings and innovation developed on our military side for our safety customers,” explained Qore Performance CEO, Justin Li.
Illustrating the innovation inherent in the products being launched, Mr Li commented that ICE “represents a complete re-thinking [in] how soldier systems are built and imagined, to deliver actual physiological performance enhancement […] ICE features stacked plate bags, which allow the organic integration of our Medium ESAPI [Enhanced Small Arms Protective Insert]-shaped ICEPLATE Curve water bottle. ICE allows the end-user to wear ICEPLATE CURVE under their armour plate for conductive cooling/heating and hydration benefits, or over their armour plate if they are in a temperate climate and simply want conformal hard-cell hydration. The ability to deliver active thermoregulation to the warfighters without adding a single ounce to their load-out is something that has never been done before.”
One of the biggest benefits of active thermoregulation for the body, a core competency for the company, is performance enhancement. Indeed, Stanford University researchers are reported to have found that active cooling applied to the body, during and immediately after heavy physical exertion, can beat the performance-enhancing effects of anabolic steroids. ICE also features organic integration of the ICEVENTS Shoulder Stand-off Ventilation Pads.
While new products will be unveiled at AUSA, others have been brought to market within the last six months, including ICEPLATE CURVE and an earlier hand warmer.
Recalling the ICEPLATE Hand Warmer was a notable success last year, Mr Li also noted progress in other areas, telling MON “We sold out our entire years’ worth of MULTICAM ICESHIELD production in just four days! The demand has been incredible. What makes ICESHIELD unique and so desirable is razor-thin, low-profile design. This ability to lay flat behind abdominal pouches makes it incredibly user-friendly. It doesn’t interfere with the rest of a warfighter’s kit. It stays completely out of the way until it is needed.”
He also spoke to the military requirements Qore is responding to, or anticipating, with its portfolio offerings. “ICE is our response to our most recent military requirement for natively integrated active thermoregulation (conductive cooling/heating) with hydration in a plate carrier to mitigate heat injuries. We are immensely excited to be able to help the military address the more than 500 heat injuries it sustains every month in training environments alone! These injuries, in addition to being dangerous to the warfighter, are incredibly expensive in training time and money. Warfighters who are pulled from training for heat injuries can experience significant delays in their training in a best-case scenario, which cost the US taxpayer about $25,000 per incident on average. Worst case scenarios see warfighters hospitalised and then medically retired, which costs the US taxpayer millions of dollars in disability payments over the remaining life of a young warfighter. In an age where near-peer competitors are closing the capability gap we have enjoyed for the better part of three decades, maintaining overmatch is more important than ever before and that starts at training. We have a low-cost, ready-to-implement solution to this problem in both training and combat environments.”
At first glance, Qore Performance appears to be in a very competitive market space – as MON will observe and report this week at AUSA. Not necessarily so, according to Mr Li. “There are companies in the hydration space and there are companies in the active cooling/heating space. But, there is nobody in the active cooling/heating hydration space. This is a niche that we created, so we don’t feel we have any direct competitors at this time. This ability to drink your cooling/heating element is what sets Qore Performance apart from everyone else in tangential verticals.”
Looking downstream, 2020 will see new innovations introduced into the company’s ICEPLATE and ICEVENTS lines and Mr Li believes “our new products will solve some critical capability gaps in the warfighters’ human performance envelope. These new capabilities will extend the range, endurance and survivability of the end-user.”
And beyond Qore Performance’s US military business base, it is also eyeing non-US military business at AUSA, “connecting with our NATO allies […] we look forward to being able to help all of our friends across the pond since we also have a proven ability to boost warfighter performance in cold weather.”