Battelle Memorial Institute employee Christopher Lloyd models the new MOPP gear.
Photo by Steve Bohnstedt
By Sgt. Ronna M. Weyland
MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, VA. (Feb. 11) -- The increased use of chemical and biological weapons has triggered the need for a more efficient protective suit for today's Marines. Therefore, a new improved suit featuring reduced heat strain, enhanced durability and machine wash-ability has been introduced to the joint services.
"We needed a different kind of suit that we could use in the desert environment," said Doug Bryce, program manager, Marine Corps Systems Command. "The charcoal suit was very heavy and very bulky."
The new overgarment is a two-piece, lightweight front-opening garment that can be worn as an overgarment or as a primary uniform worn over personal underwear.
Bryce said the new suit is more comfortable and induces less heat strain on the individual wearing the overgarment.
"One of the biggest areas for contamination was around the neck," said Bryce. With this in mind, a hood was added to the suit.
In addition to added protection and comfort, the suit's sustained protection period is increased by 15 days over its predecessor. The new suits provide 45 days of protection and can be laundered once a week for hygiene purposes. Suits can only be re-used once after contamination.
Another added convenience of the overgarment is all services will have the same suit. This will help logistically, since the suits will no longer have to be kept separate. During past joint operations, a separate supply of protective suits was needed for each service.
The JSLIST overgarment is currently being used in the Air Force and Navy. The suit will not be fielded until the current Saratoga suit wears out, because they are both similar in features.
The efficiencies received from the new suit has helped the Department of Defense reduce a 12 million overgarment supply requirement to 4.4 million.