ECWCS-III: Dressed for the Cold

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ECWCS-III: all 7 layers(click to view full) “During Operation Mountain Lion I found myself praying for bad weather, the first time in my military career I was actually begging for a cold front to come through. I knew my soldiers could handle it and the enemy couldn’t. ECWCS allowed my men to outlast the enemy on their own terrain. When the enemy was forced out of the mountains due to the bitter cold to take shelter, that’s when we got them.” — LTC Christopher Cavoli, US Army 10th Mountain Division, Afghanistan This third generation of the Extended Cold Weather Clothing System (ECWCS-III) is a radical re-design of the cold weather clothing system for the U.S. Army. So, exactly what’s in the ECWCS-III? The ECWCS-III Clothing System Layer 2 underwear(click to view full) In 2007, Atlantic Diving Supply, Inc. (ADS), who has won other significant soldiers’ equipment contracts from the US military, announced an ECWCS-III contract whose value could exceed $1.1 billion. As the lead integrator, ADS will lead a team of over 10 American technical garment manufacturers and technical textile companies to produce and supply the versatile 7-layer, 12-component system for fielding to Soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan by the […]
ECWCS-III Cold Weather All 7 Layers

ECWCS-III: all 7 layers
(click to view full)

“During Operation Mountain Lion I found myself praying for bad weather, the first time in my military career I was actually begging for a cold front to come through. I knew my soldiers could handle it and the enemy couldn’t. ECWCS allowed my men to outlast the enemy on their own terrain. When the enemy was forced out of the mountains due to the bitter cold to take shelter, that’s when we got them.”
— LTC Christopher Cavoli, US Army 10th Mountain Division, Afghanistan

This third generation of the Extended Cold Weather Clothing System (ECWCS-III) is a radical re-design of the cold weather clothing system for the U.S. Army. So, exactly what’s in the ECWCS-III?

The ECWCS-III Clothing System

ECWS-III Layer-2 Underwear

Layer 2 underwear
(click to view full)

In 2007, Atlantic Diving Supply, Inc. (ADS), who has won other significant soldiers’ equipment contracts from the US military, announced an ECWCS-III contract whose value could exceed $1.1 billion. As the lead integrator, ADS will lead a team of over 10 American technical garment manufacturers and technical textile companies to produce and supply the versatile 7-layer, 12-component system for fielding to Soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan by the winter of 2008.

The Army’s PEO-CIE sought significant feedback from industry and Soldiers to develop this fully integrated cold weather layering system

Based on layering systems currently utilized by mountaineering professionals, the Generation III ECWCS system incorporates 7 layers of clothing, including light-weight and mid-weight Polartec Powerdry moisture wicking shirt and briefs, a Polartec Thermal Pro fleece jacket, a nylon/ spandex wind jacket, a soft shell jacket and trousers using Nextec fabric, a Gore-Tex wet weather jacket and trousers, and a Primaloft insulated loft parka and trousers for extreme cold weather conditions. Wool socks and a fleece cap are also included. Each piece fits and functions either alone or together as a system to provide the most options for the Soldier.

As an improvement upon previous generations, the new Generation III ECWCS is 33% more compressible, 25% lighter, and is rated as more comfortable. It is also more versatile and includes functional features that allow the Soldier to adapt to varying mission requirements and environmental conditions ranging between -40 to +60 degrees Fahrenheit. The U.S. Army’s 10th Mountain Division field tested 18,000 of the ECWCS-III systems in Afghanistan in fall 2006, and as one can see above, they gave the system a very strong review. Components include:

LVL 1: Base layer shirt and long underwear
LVL 2: Base layer shirt and long underwear, heavier
LVL 3: High-loft Polartec fleece jacket
LVL 4: Jacket shell, camo. Designed for wear under body armor
LVL 5: Long Jacket and Trousers soft shell layer, camo
LVL 6: Long Jacket and Trousers waterproof shell layer, camo
LVL 7: Parka and Trousers

In truth, ECWS-III was an effort to catch up with the rapidly-evolving civilian technologies in this area. Hopefully, the circle will come back around, and mail-order versions of ECWS-III spin-offs and sub-sets for civilians won’t be too far behind.

Contracts & Key Events

[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0a5ZChRJ6r0]

GEN III ECWCS
click to play video

Note that it’s possible for orders to be placed without the contracts being announced on DefenseLINK, which has a lower limit of $5 million. The US military has also solicited a number of 100% small business set-aside contracts for specific pieces of ECWCS-III clothing, including some dual-award contracts to ADS and other firms.

May 10/11: A $22.8 million firm-fixed-price contract for 20,004 Generation III ECWCS sets.

Work will be performed in Virginia Beach, VA; Nasville & Tullahoma, TN; Belmont, MN; Rio Rico, AZ; Lanaing & Elk Rapids, MI; Mayaguez & Caguas, Puerto Rico; Lexington, KY; Boston, MA; and Newport, RI; with an estimated completion date of Nov 20/11. The bid was solicited through the Internet, with 3 bids received by U.S. Army Contracting Command in Natick, MA (W911QY-07-D-0003).

April 1/11: A $28.5 million firm-fixed-price contract for 25,056 ECWCS-III sets.

Work will be performed in Virginia Beach, VA; Nashville, TN; Belmont, MN; Rio Rico, AZ; Lancing, MI; Mayaguez, Puerto Rico; Elk Rapids, MI; Tullahoma, TN; Lexington, KY; Caguas, Puerto Rico; Boston, MA; and Newport, RI, with an estimated completion date of Nov 20/11. The bid was solicited through the Internet, with 3 bids received by U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command’s Natick Contracting Division in Natick, MA (W911QY-07-D-0003).

Feb 25/11: An $18.2 million firm-fixed-price contract for 16,004 ECWCS-III kits.

Work will be performed in Virginia Beach, VA; Fall River, MA; Newark, NJ; North Conway, NH; Lansing, MI; Mayaguez, Puerto Rico; Post Falls, ID; Tullahoma, TN; and Mukilteo, WA, with an estimated completion date of Nov 20/11. The bid was solicited through the Internet, with 3 bids received by U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command’s Natick Contracting Division in Natick, MA (W911QY-07-D-0003).

Dec 23/10: A $9.1 million firm-fixed-price indefinite delivery/ indefinite quantity contract for 8,002 ECWS-III kits.

Work will be performed in Virginia Beach, VA; Fall River, MA; Newark, NJ; North Conway, NH; Lansing, MI; Mayaguez, Puerto Rico; Post Falls, ID; Tullahoma, TN; and Mukilteo, WA, with an estimated completion date of Nov 20/11. The bid was solicited through the Internet, with 3 bids received by U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command’s Natick Contracting Division in Natick, MA (W911QY-07-D-0003).

Nov 8/10: A $29.6 million firm-fixed-price delivery order to buy ECWCS-III sets. A prior congressional notification was submitted for award of contract W911QY-07-D-0003.

Work is to be performed in Virginia Beach, Va. (5 percent); Fall River, Mass. (10 percent); Newark, N.J. (24%); North Conway, NH (2%); Lansing, MI (18%); Mayaguez, Puerto Rico (24%); Post Falls (5%); Tullahoma, TN (10%); and Mukilteo, WA (2%), with an estimated completion date of Dec 31/11. Bids were solicited on the World Wide Web with 3 bids received by U.S. Army Research Development & Engineering Command Contracting Center at Natick, MA (W911QY-07-D-0003).

Aug 18/10: Atlantic Diving Supply, Inc. in Virginia Beach, VA receives a $51.1 million firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity delivery order, as part of their 5-year production contract for ECWCS-III clothing sets.

Work will be performed in Virginia Beach, VA (5%); Fall River, MA (10%); Newark, NJ (24%); North Conway, NH (2%); Lansing, MI (18%); Mayaguez, Puerto Rico (24%); Post Falls, ID (5%); Tullahoma, TN (10%); and Mukilteo, WA (2%), with an estimated completion date of Dec 31/11. Bids were solicited on the World Wide Web with three bids received. U.S. Army Research Development & Engineering Command Contracting Center’s Natick Contracting Division in Natick, MA manages the contract (W911QY-07-D-003).

July 2/10: Atlantic Diving Supply, Inc. in Virginia Beach, VA receives a $39.5 million firm-fixed-price delivery order for Generation III extreme cold weather clothing systems.

Work will be performed in Newark, NJ (24%); Mayaguez, Puerto Rico (24%); Lansing, MI (18%); Fall River, MA (10%); Tullahoma, TN (10%); Post Falls, ID (5%); Virginia Beach, VA (5%); North Conway, NH (2%); and Mukilteo, WA (2%), with an estimated completion date of Dec 29/11. Bids for the original contract were solicited on the World Wide Web with three bids received by the U.S. Army’s Research Development & Engineering Command (REDCOM) Contracting Center in Natick, MA (W911QY-07-D-0003).

March 17/10: Atlantic Diving Supply, Inc. in Virginia Beach, VA wins a $45.6 million firm-fixed-price delivery order to purchase Generation III extreme cold weather clothing systems.

Work will be performed in Newark, NJ (24%); Mayaguez, Puerto Rico (24%); Lansing, MI (18%); Fall River, MA (10%); Tullahoma, TN (10%); Post Falls, ID (5%); Virginia Beach, VA (5%); North Conway, NH (2%); and Mukilteo, WA (2%), with an estimated completion date of Dec 20/11. Bids for the original contract were solicited on the World Wide Web with three bids received by the U.S. Army’s Research Development & Engineering Command Contracting Center in Natick, MA (W911QY-07-D-0003).

Jan 7/07: Atlantic Diving Supply, Inc. (ADS), who has won other significant soldiers’ equipment contracts from the US military, announces a $220 million contract from the U.S. Army’s Program Executive Office, Product Manager, Clothing and Individual Equipment (PEO Soldier’s PM-CIE) to manage and procure the ECWCS III set.

This is a 1-year contract (W911QY-07-D-0003) which includes the option for 4 additional $220 million 1-year extensions. If all contract options are exercised, therefore, the total contract value could exceed $1.1 billion.

Additional Readings & Sources

* ADS, Inc. – Gen III ECWCS

* PEO Soldier – Extended Cold Weather Clothing System (ECWCS) [PDF]

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