Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va. -- Marines will soon receive updated flame resistant uniforms, making them less susceptible to severe burns.
The Enhanced Flame Resistant Combat Ensemble is the latest upgrade to the Corps’ Flame Resistant Combat Ensemble inventory, updating a long-sleeve shirt and trousers with a new flame resistant material that allows the uniform to self-extinguish reducing the incidence and severity of burn injuries. The system upgrade was developed in partnership with the Navy and will be issued to Marines and Sailors assigned to Navy Expeditionary Combat Command and Naval Special Warfare Command as they deploy.
“Marine Corps Systems Command conducted industry research and found that there are better and more durable materials available that did not sacrifice protection or comfort,” said John Bauer, textile technologist for Infantry Combat Equipment at MCSC. “This means that instead of issuing four uniforms to every Marine for every deployment, we can now field two that will last for the same period. This lightens the load for Marines and saves money.”
The EFRCE is part of the Marine Corps’ Flame Resistant Organizational Gear system which consists of a combat shirt and trousers, gloves, inclement weather combat shirt--worn over the EFRCE blouse during inclement weather-- and balaclavas that work together to protect the wearer from head-to-toe. The EFRCE comes in four camouflage patterns: Woodland and Desert, Navy Working Uniform Type II and NWU Type III. The new fabric is a blend of nylon, cotton and meta-aramid fibers—a material highly resistant to high temperatures, chemical degradation and abrasion.
“By late fiscal year 2017 we are expecting to have all issues of EFRCE produced and in inventory to replace the current supply of FRCE,” said Louis Curcio, ICE clothing designer. “The new uniforms will replace the legacy as the inventory decreases.”
The design on the EFRCE combat shirt was also improved to better fit under the Plate Carrier Generation III body armor. EFRCE’s combat trousers are similar to the current Marine Corps Combat Utility Uniform and Navy NWU trousers.
As the lead for development of the EFRCE system, the Marine Corps partnered with Navy Supply Systems Command to field the uniform system to Navy expeditionary forces.
“We have been involved with the purchase of both the FRCE and EFCRE from the beginning, especially since flame resistant capabilities are something that all branches need in certain hostile environments,” said Navy Lt. Chris Hulse, life cycle logistics intern for NAVSUP’s Naval Logistics Integration program. As the NLI representative to MCSC, Hulse collaborates with ICE experts to examine how complementary capabilities can be developed to streamline the total life cycle management of select items in support of naval expeditionary forces. “Due to economies of scale, working with the Marine Corps decreases the overall cost of acquisition, making it a win-win situation when both services come together,” said Hulse “Other joint acquisition initiatives between the two services include the Enhanced Combat Helmet and the Inclement Weather Combat Shirt.”
EFRCE is currently in production, with an expected total of 70,000 systems scheduled for issue next year.