Tuesday, March 21, 2017


The U.S. Army Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Command (NSRDEC), Natick, Mass., is conducting a market investigation to identify domestic suppliers and manufacturers of potential sources for materials, individual garment items and complete clothing systems for the development of a Cold Temperature and Arctic Protection System (CTAPS). This RFI will exclude handwear and footwear. The effort will develop a multi-layer system that will provide a minimum of no melt and no drip next-to-skin layers, environmental protection from wind and water, and provide tailorable protection for temperatures spanning a range from 45˚F to -65˚F in as few garments as possible.

The new cold weather materials, end items, and systems should be light weight with better durability, provide high compressibility/good recovery for packing in the ruck, have improved moisture management, and be fast drying while maintaining insulation. The performance of the current seven layer Extended Cold Weather Clothing System (ECWCS) Generation III is the baseline for characteristics and protection upon which materials, individual garments, and complete clothing systems will be compared. The individual garments or layers of the clothing system can be categorized into three areas: base layer (next-to-skin), insulating layer, and outer shell. While flame resistance is not a requirement at this time, materials and items that are flame resistant will be considered. It is also desired to expand no melt/no drip performance beyond the base layers without negatively impacting other performance attributes.

The Government will require 90 days after the 21 April 2017 submission date to make an initial assessment of the proposed technology(s) potential to fulfill CTAPS needs. The Government will integrate selected technologies and designs into test garments for field evaluation in winters 2018 and 2019 to establish operational effectiveness and Soldier acceptance. A test method matrix upon which materials and/or end item garments and systems will be evaluated is attached. Concurrently, NSRDEC will be seeking test methods to better predict operational effectiveness in the field. The Purchase Descriptions of the current ECWCS materials are available upon request. Interested sources may submit any combination of material samples (textiles), end item samples (garments), or complete system samples (ensembles) along with technical information as outlined in item (a) below. The samples will be degraded or destroyed during evaluation and will not be returned to the vendor. If a source chooses to submit samples, no payment will be made by the Government for such samples. The following information shall be included in the written response:

a. A material/product description to include: fiber blend percentages, finishes, and Berry compliance (or Berry compliant potential) documentation. The supplier must identify the technical parameters of materials and end items with documented test/analysis information as available that would substantiate capability advancement compared to the required physical properties and additional standard test matrix list. If the required colors are not submitted, the manufacturer must provide information that the materials can be successfully dyed and printed in the required colors. If a supplier submits multiple materials or samples to fulfill a requirement, they must identify the advantage/disadvantages of their competing products.

b. The finished cloth or end item shall not present a dermal health hazard when used as intended and tested. The vendor must furnish information, which certifies that the finished product is composed of materials, which have been safely used commercially or provided sufficient toxicity data to show compatibility with prolonged, direct skin contact.

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