Selected Industrial Views with Lutz Biewer, Global Military Business Leader, W. L. Gore & Associates
On the occasion of SHOT Show 2017, MILITARY TECHNOLOGY publishes the Second Annual Rugged Tactical Tools for Extreme Conditions (RTTEC) Series that conveys the thoughts and messages of the world’s tactical equipment leaders, according to the question: “As soldiers and Special Forces operators expect their gear to be 100% reliable, how do you step up to offer extremely durable, rugged gear to keep operations running?”
W. L. Gore & Associates is well known for revolutionary materials and high-tech consumer products engineered to enhance sports and outdoor performance. It’s also taking a global lead in the research and development of highly technical, next-generation military gear engineered to protect and enhance the mission success of soldiers and SOF in the field.
This includes lightweight materials with advanced operational qualities that are significantly more comfortable than the industry standard, yet highly durable. In addition to supporting mission success, highly durable products reduce life-cycle costs.
A typical soldier’s field gear can weigh over 100lbs, and reducing that load without sacrificing necessary operational capabilities and durability is essential.
Physiological comfort, durability, and finally, mission effectiveness are all necessary demands on our military products and technologies and the textile scientists at Gore work tirelessly to develop military gear that meets all three criteria. Gore products must pass extensive, rigorous in-house testing for both operational qualities and durability before being introduced to market. This includes outerwear, uniforms, boots and much more.
This is in step with Gore’s product philosophy, ‘Fitness for Use.’ The GORE PYRAD Combat Uniform product line with advanced FR capabilities is just one example. Engineered to protect soldiers from flash fire in combat situations, GORE PYRAD fabric has selected properties for the outer and the inner sides. The outer surface is self-extinguishing and can be paired with well-established, non-FR textiles, which greatly enhances the long-term durability of the uniform. The inner side is comfortable to the skin.
Our GORE-TEX garments are durably, waterproof, windproof and breathable, delivering warfighters with unsurpassed comfort and protection in a broad range of weather conditions. All undergo rigorous testing in Gore’s state-of-the-art environmental labs. This includes testing in Gore’s rain tower to confirm performance and durability levels.
Gore has played a pivotal role in providing durably waterproof, windproof, and breathable products to the military for more than 30 years and one of the key product lines used by the US Army is the GEN lll Extended Climate Warfighter Clothing System (ECWCS) with trouser and jacket. ECWCS garments are constructed with a two-layer GORE-TEX fabric.
Gore’s military boots are specifically designed for combat in a wide variety of climates. Gore has developed a broad range of products and laminates for GORE-TEX Footwear, from Extended Comfort to Performance Comfort and Insulated Comfort. Our boots and boot laminates range from highly breathable, low-water pick-up desert boots to highly insulated boots designed for extreme cold. All must make it through rigorous testing before being issued and before wearing the GORE-TEX brand label.
Our Desert GORE-TEX Extended Comfort Footwear, for example, helps soldiers in the field master the extremes by providing both durable waterproofness paired with extreme breathability. Boots without a membrane often cannot provide sufficient protection in versatile (hot, humid, wet) desert and related urban environments where sand, dust and sewage are threats. GORE-TEX Desert Boots, for example, have a long track record for providing protection and physiological comfort. Desert GORE-TEX Extended Comfort Footwear boots now take this to a new extreme, and are durably waterproof and extremely breathable.
At the core of this new line of desert boots is the thin, three-layer GORE-TEX Extended Comfort laminate, which performs without extra insulation. The laminate’s construction consists of a highly abrasive-resistant, quick-drying lining material; the microporous GORE-TEX membrane made of expanded polytetrafluoroethylene (ePTFE); and a protective knit. GORE-TEX Extended Comfort laminates are therefore highly breathable and recognised for outstanding heat loss characteristics. This means a soldier’s feet will be durably protected from water, problematic liquids and sand, while perspiration inside the boot can escape quickly.
Our military products reflect the dedication of Gore’s textile scientists in the US and Europe to supporting our troops with best-in-class gear that reflects our vision: Trusted – Mission Critical – Worldwide. As a system partner to the military, we are continually developing new technologies that combine both next-generation operational capabilities and durability levels that surpass the industry standard. Finally, this effort is about bringing those who protect our societies back home safely.
SHOT Show is showcasing the future of innovation across the tactical gear and weapons arena and https://monch.com/mpg/news/shot-show-2018.html brings together key developments from the show. For more information and a print version of the RTTEC series, please see MILITARY TECHNOLOGY #1/2018, available at the show; and frequently check back for more NEWS FROM THE FLOOR.