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    Lightening the Load: Losing Weight, Gaining Protection

    Lightening the Load: Losing Weight, Gaining Protection

    Photo By Nate McDonald | A U.S. Army soldier wears the DTRA-funded CBLITE uniform during an October 2016...... read more read more



    Courtesy Story

    Defense Threat Reduction Agency's Chemical and Biological Technologies Department

    The threat of chemical weapons is one of the biggest concerns in modern combat, resulting in the need for our warfighters to don bulky protective gear that limits mobility. To address this issue, the Defense Threat Reduction Agency’s Joint Science and Technology Office developed the Chemical and Biological Lightweight Improved Thermal Ensemble (CBLITE), a new protective uniform.

    By utilizing more sophisticated materials and new garment design strategies, JSTO and the U.S. Army Natick Soldier Center reduced the thermal burden while providing warfighters increased protection from chemical, biological, radiation and nuclear (CBRN) threats in a lightweight, less cumbersome uniform.

    During a recent operational demonstration and evaluation at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., test participants rated CBLITE superior to the Joint Services Lightweight Integrated Suit Technology (JSLIST), which is the current military-issued protective suit for a chemical or biological environment. In particular, CBLITE received much higher ratings than the JSLIST in the areas of thermal and physical comfort, compatibility, acceptability and suitability.

    The new uniform exceeded expectations during Man In Simulant, aerosol systems, low volatility agent permeation and thermal manikin testing. Warfighters confirmed an overwhelmingly positive reception toward CBLITE during field demonstrations, likening it to the comfort of a regular duty uniform.

    DTRA’s CBLITE advances the evolution of CBRN protective suits by utilizing analytical garment design. This approach leverages multiple material usages and placements along with lamination of materials and omniphobic coatings. The result is an ensemble that provides the right amount of CBRN protection with increased comfort and a novel omniphobic coating that sheds liquid contamination upon contact.

    CBLITE is a versatile and adaptable uniform with four current variations of design: CBLITE 1, CBLITE 3, CBLITE 3 Mod and CBLITE 1AerO. CBLITE 1 and 3 consist of knit and woven materials that met or exceeded established criteria when tested against 1g and 3g of liquid chemical agents. After extensive user feedback with Army and Air Force personnel, researchers modified CBLITE 3 to develop CBLITE 3 Mod which added additional pockets and altered wrist closures to make the uniform more user-friendly. The CBLITE 1 AerO represents the next phase with an aerosol barrier with omniphobic coating added to the CBLITE 1 garment. These multiple types of CBLITE provide warfighters with garments for varied missions and skill sets.

    Researchers recently transitioned the CBLITE project from DTRA to the Joint Program Executive Office for Chemical and Biological Defense for the next phase in development. The transition will be complete after two remaining installments are delivered during FY17 including additional data and the CBLITE garment.

    CBLITE represents DTRA's commitment to protecting the warfighter from chemical and biological threats by providing enhanced garments that are less permeable and more user-friendly.



    Date Taken: 05.11.2017
    Date Posted: 05.11.2017 10:41
    Story ID: 233443
    Location: FORT BELVOIR, VA, US 

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