‘Make in India’ in Textiles : for Armed Forces

NITRA has outlined the main properties required for the protective textiles for the Indian Armed and Paramilitary Forces. These are described below :

Requirements for Advanced Integrated Combat Clothing System :

  • Physical
  • Durability to prolonged exposure to inclement weather and heavy wear
  • Good tensile and tear strength and abrasion resistance
  • Environmental
  • Water repellency, wind proof
  • Battlefield (good camouflage & low noise generation)
  • Physiological
  • Low weight, easy to wear, minimum heat stress
  • Air, moisture & vapor permeability
  • Comfort and good appearance

The current armed and paramilitary specifications do not speak about wear, comfort and safety which depend upon the varying battle field conditions. For example, high mobility and smart look to the soldier are not a part of the specifications. NITRA has therefore suggested to revise the specifications for durability, operational efficiency, and wear properties in general (mechanical properties such as tensile, tear and bursting strengths indicate the fabric wear property).

Protective Textiles for Armed and Paramilitary Forces
Protective Textiles for Armed and Paramilitary Forces

However for combat uniform in addition to these general wear properties, it is essential to measure wear resistance in terms of abrasion. Abrasion resistance should also be included as one of the requirements.

The requirement should be such that there should not be “thread breaks” up to 50,000 abrasion cycles when tested as per IS: 12673:1989.

Comfort Properties

To enhance comfort properties of the uniforms worn by Indian soliders, the following two requirements may be added to the existing specifications.

  • Air permeability of the fabric shall be at least 5 cc/sec/cm2 when tested according to IS 11056:1984. Water vapor permeability (water method) shall be 1400 g/m2/day (Minimum) when tested according to ASTM E-96.
  • Safety (Heat or flame resistant properties).

The presence of synthetic material such as polyester if exposed to heat or flame melts and sticks to skin causing severe burns. Combat uniforms having heat or flame resistance properties are essential in the present day context. The use of either FR fibers or FR coating should also be included in the present specifications to meet surface ignition test when tested as per ISO 15025 (no hole formation, no
melting and no dripping).

Wrinkle Recovery

Although wrinkle recovery property of the combat clothing is not directly linked to the performance of the fabric during the battle but good wrinkle recovery cloth imparts smarter look to the solider. Therefore it is recommended that the WR rating (after 24 hours) of the combat shall be minimum 4 when tested according to AATCC 128-2004.

Color specification

In the developed countries, camouflage print Colors often include khaki, green, brown and black, with additional colors such as olive, yellow, orange, pink, grey, beige and sand to extend use to other urban, rural and desert backgrounds. In India, almost same camouflage print (mostly developed using khaki, green, brown and black) is used for all types of surroundings. If the solider is engaged in the urban area, he/she should have such type of camouflage print uniform that matches with the urban surroundings. In such case the use of dark green and black need to be minimized.

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