ARLINGTON, Va.: The Army has begun to deploy special, high-tech flame-resistant uniforms engineered to safeguard Soldiers in aircraft and armored vehicles who could be exposed to fire and flames during an attack, service officials said.
Called Fire Resistant Environmental Ensemble, or FREE, the uniforms are manufactured with specially-knit flame-resistant fabrics designed to provide lightweight protection and safeguard Soldiers from flames, wind and extreme temperatures.
“FREE is a cold- and wet-weather clothing system developed for our aviators and armored-vehicle crewmen who have a very high requirement for flame-resistant uniforms. In addition to providing all-weather capability in terms of keeping our Soldiers warm and comfortable and able to operate in any environment, it has very high levels of flame protection,” said Col. William Cole, project manager for Soldier Protection and Individual Equipment, the office which buys body armor and uniforms for the Army.
“If Soldiers are in a flash fire in an armored vehicle or aircraft, they are protected. They won’t be burned,” Cole said.
The first uniforms, designed in the standard Universal Camouflage Pattern, were deployed a few months ago, Cole said. In the next few months, aviators slated to deploy to Afghanistan will be issued MultiCam FREE uniforms, he added.
“We are very happy to be fielding this,” Cole said.