A new solicitation from the U.S. Marine Corps seeks underwear that can protect soldiers' private parts from tiny fragments and burns, yet still be comfortable enough to wear on a daily basis.
The Corps is soliciting U.S. textile manufacturers for a solution to its "Pelvic Protective Undergarment" problem, which requires protection from sand and debris traveling at 650 feet per second yet does not chafe and dries out quickly.
The undergarment will provide protection from lower velocity small fragments and debris to the femoral, genital, perineal, and anal regions. The protection provided will help lower the probability of infection to the pelvic region by limiting the amount of debridement experienced in an explosive event.
The stakes are significant: a wound in a sensitive area can lead to rapid blood loss or infection, sidelining otherwise able soldiers and making combat operations difficult. On the other hand, an uncomfortable pair of underwear is just as debilitating to movement, albeit in a different way -- so the garments must be both breathable and microbe-resistant.
"Overall physical comfort of the system is considered to be of equivalent importance to ballistic performance," the solicitation reads.
Add four-second burn protection to the feature list and this project could be a serious synthetic fiber challenge.
Jeremy Hsu writes at LiveSciencethat the Marine Corps currently uses a combination of protective undergarments originally manufactured for the British armed forces and newer versions made of Simplex Weave Kevlar fabric manufactured by U.S. supplier Armorworks.
Image: Armorworks' PUGZ.
This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com