By Wang Shuangzhi, Zhang Hua and Sun Xingwei
BEIJING, Oct.27 -- The PLA’s frontline troops have been equipped with a number of new-type border patrol outfits recently. The upgrading of outfits reflects the improvement of the PLA's comprehensive and precise logistics support capabilities.
Recently, a chief of the Military Energy Bureau under the CMC Logistic Support Department systematically introduced the research and development ideas of the new outfits, its development process, and the technological innovations in various designs.
About the development process of the PLA's new frontline patrol outfits
The development of the PLA's new frontline patrol outfits series started since the beginning of 2014.
Focused on geographical conditions and climatic characteristics, the department-in-charge took into consideration the realistic requirements when troops performing tasks. A scientific research team was established and then visited Xinjiang, Tibet, and other frontline troops for field investigation.
They carried out targeted research and trial-produced small batch of border patrol outfits adapted to two different types of environment, characterized by alpine cold on plateau or high humidity and high temperature.
During the research process, R&D personnel participated in combat missions including border patrols. They have repeatedly made modifications and adjustments based on the feedback and gradually formed a series of technically matured outfits.
Compared with the Type 07 outfits, the main feature of the newly developed border patrol outfits is that they fit closely to actual combat.
About the general information of the frontline patrol outfits
The outfits is consisted of 15 categories including cold-proof hood, cold-proof training clothes, lightweight cold-proof training coat, quick-dry underwear, fleece underwear, down coat and pants, down vest, cold-proof gloves, cold-proof socks, training cap, anti-glare glasses, camouflage windbreaker, training underwear, leg wrappings and multi-function insulated water bottle. Through matching varieties, this series of outfits could provide solutions to the real combat needs under different environment conditions, from alpine cold area on plateau, to high humidity and high temperature area, or to area with large temperature difference span.
About the changes in materials leading to weight reduction
The research team has achieved a series of breakthroughs in new functional materials according to actual combat.
The new-style camouflage pattern adopts the collocation of five colors and the star-spread design, so the edges between different colors have a transition from sharp to fuzzy. It can achieve camouflage under typical background conditions based on the principle of visual illusion.
The "nylon-cotton mix" lightweight and high-strength fabrics are durable, breathable, moisture-permeable, water-absorbing, quick-drying, light and soft in summer, while durable, anti-static, wind-proof, moisture-permeable, lightweight and warm in winter.
A variety of functional materials, such as water-repellent down, ultra-light hydrophobic flakes, lightweight plush materials, etc., not only meets the needs of border defense troops for various duties, but also greatly reduces the weight of outfits by 12 percent.
About the changes in design leading to convenience in real combat use
In view of the changing frontier environment and the situation of “one day in four seasons” during the patrol, we have designed a variety of matching solutions to meet the requirements of missions from -40℃ to 30℃, from subtropical jungle areas to plateau alpine snow mountains.
First, designs with new technology. The round-edged training cap is not only convenient for camouflage, but also solves the problem of preventing the head and the neck from ultraviolet radiation on the plateau. The anti-glare glasses, with three pairs of inter-changeable lenses, realize anti-glare, anti-snow blindness, anti-wind and sand, and other functions.
Second, designs for real combat needs. Through a multi-purpose combination design, the multi-functional water bottle can not only provide hot drinking water during patrols, but also be used as a single-soldier cooker, which greatly improves the survivability of soldiers in the fields.
Third, designs for easy packing. After being packed, the leech-proof camouflage windbreaker is just the size of a palm and the down coat and pants are less than 0.01 cubic meters. To take off the new leg wrappings, it only takes one second. The liner of the lightweight cold-proof coat and training suit can be worn alone, making the warmth adjustment more flexible.