Navy Clothing & Textile Research Facility Provides Innovation

By Laurra C. Winters, Director, Navy Clothing and Textile Research Facility, Navy Exchange Service Command

The mission of Navy Exchange Service Command’s (NEXCOM) Navy Clothing & Textile Research Facility (NCTRF) is to maximize the quality of life for Navy Sailors through uniform and protective clothing development and sustainment. The work of NCTRF is critical to the Navy’s readiness and lethality. The NCTRF team brings forward new technologies that provide service members necessary capabilities for mission readiness.

Clothing Designer Gajanan Dhapodkar experiments with the pant hem on the newly redesigned female skirts and slacks fit.

 

The NCTRF team includes subject matter experts, textile technologists, clothing designers, and engineers. They conduct research, design, development, improvement, and user assessment studies of uniforms, protective garments, and equipment.

For example, clothing designer Eileen Hamalian has been involved with the development and continued evaluation of the U.S. Fleet Forces Command’s two-piece, inherently flame resistant uniform for versatile protection for Sailors aboard ships.

Pratibha Sinha, a physical scientist, oversees the biophysical lab that houses lifelike mannequins and the hydro-environmental testing pool. She evaluates Sailors’ biological reactions to various weather, water, and temperature impacts for survivability under environmentally adverse conditions. NCTRF works hand-in-hand with Navy leadership on new uniform initiatives such as updating design and fit based on current body types.

Clothing Designer Desiree Marquant analyzes a hem on a prototype of the two-piece, inherently flame resistant uniform.

Pratibha Sinha, a physical scientist with Navy Clothing & Textile Research Facility, preparing the mannequin for hydro environmental testing to evaluate Sailors’ biological effects to various weather, water and temperature impacts.

Supervisory Textile Technologist Louise Caulfied of the Uniforms and Certification Group, led several key Navy projects like the female chokers and the Navy Working Uniform (NWU) Type I, II and III. She’s currently running the ongoing certification and quality assurance program to provide Sailors with uniform standardization and improved fit.

Caulfield’s team includes Kim Olen, who manages the female uniform size standardization effort. Using the anthropometric correlation study results, she is adjusting the size and fit of current uniforms to conform to today’s female Sailors, including the redesign of the new female skirts and slacks.

One of the newest Navy initiatives is the study and evaluation of a new general safety boot that is more comfortable and meets operational performance requirements better. Supervisory Textile Technologist Amy Brayshaw, of the Organizational and Protective Clothing Group, has been conducting and studying in-fleet assessments of improved boot designs. She directly contributed to the new I Boot 4 currently being sold in Navy Exchange (NEX) uniform stores. Along with the boot program, she developed and tested the Improved Flame Resistant Variant (IFRV) coverall, an approved fleet organizational clothing item.

Lynn Anderson, NCTRF’s Design and Testing Laboratories Group, clothing designer measures the bottom of a thermal heat-resistant body suit prototype.

 

Navy Clothing & Textile Research Facility associate explains the prototype of the new stitchless seam.

In addition to the IFRV and the boot study, NCTRF helped create the optional physical fitness uniform tagged with the new logo, “Forged by the Sea.” Clothing Designer Julie Kontos was one of the principals on the project, ensuring its quality, handling the design and color development, and implementing sizing standards and fit comparable to commercial clothing.

NCTRF not only handles Navy projects and programs, but also works closely with the U.S. Marine Corps on its clothing and protective equipment. Barbara Quinn, who handles pattern and prototype design, has supported multiple U.S. Marine Corps and Navy clothing and personal protective equipment redesigns.

Barbara, along with a team of clothing designers, Lynn Anderson, Katherine Verrico and Carlos Custodio have worked on a wide range of items like the Navy’s service dress blues, NWU Type I, II & III, body armor, steam suits, chemical biological suits and a full redesign the USS Constitution uniform.

–photos by NEXCOM Public Affairs

Summer 2019