NORFOLK - The Navy is making changes to uniforms found to be highly flammable.
The digitized, blue and gray camouflage uniform is worn by many of the service's more than 300,000 officers and enlisted personnel.
The Navy Clothing and Textile Research Facility conducted tests in October 2012 on the garments, made of a 50/50 blend of cotton and polyester, and found they will 'burn robustly until completely consumed.'
Adm. Bill Gortney, commander of US Fleet Forces announced Thursday a three-phased approach, which includes getting new hybrid coverall combining the designs of the existing nylon/cotton coverall with the flame-resistant material of the current repair-locker coverall to all sailors.
He said current electrical coveralls will continue to be used where appropriate, and the submarine force will continue to use the low-lint coverall sold at the exchange.
The Navy also will continue to educate afloat commands on the risks and limitations of the current clothing and, in the next three years, the Navy will develop clothing that is flame resistant, provides arc flash protection and contains low lint levels necessary to satisfy submarine requirements.
The working uniforms currently in use, including the NWU Type I, are deemed safe when worn properly under normal steaming conditions, the Navy stressed.
The Navy removed the requirement for all hands to wear flame resistant uniforms at sea in 1996 but maintained the requirement for flame-resistant clothing for sailors in engineering departments, on flight decks and in other high-risk areas.