Air Force Testing New Cold Weather Flight Suits

The Air Force Uniform Office is fit testing a new flight uniform that can keep aircrews warm in extremely cold weather but is also flame-resistant and not so bulky it inhibits their in-flight performance or creates safety hazards. The proposed cold weather aviation system (CWAS) should be able to keep aircrews comfortably warm in temperatures as cold as minus 20 degrees with a 55 mph wind, according to an Oct. 5 release. The CWAS being tested has five layers to cover a wide range of frigid conditions. “It’s a really tough requirement because when you and I go out into really cold temperatures we can wear multiple layers to stay war, but we’ll be in extremely bulky, unbreathable material,” 1st Lt. Nicholas Hyatt, an AFUO systems integration engineer said. “Our aircrews work in confined spaces so they can’t wear bulky uniforms or they may accidentally flip switches in the cockpit.” The CWAS also must protect the aircrews against in-flight fires. Before starting field testing, the AFUO invited more than 50 airmen to put on the CWAS layer by layer while designers took measurements and notes and recorded the airmen’s comments and suggestions.