Battle Dress Uniform - Modifications


Since 1981, changes included the addition and subsequent elimination of buttoned waist adjustment tabs, the size reduction of the collar, and refinements in stitching and fit.

BDUs were initially only issued in a 50/50 nylon and cotton twill blend (the Temperate Weather BDU (TWBDU)). Complaints regarding the heat retention of these uniforms, especially following the invasion of Grenada in 1983, led to the introduction of the Hot Weather BDU (HWBDU). The Hot Weather BDU coat and trousers were constructed of 100 percent ripstop cotton, in a four-color woodland camouflage pattern. However, after complaints of shorter wear and frayed cuffs, along with requirements imposed by unit commanders to starch the all-cotton uniform for parade, the Enhanced Hot Weather BDU (EHWBDU) replaced the HWBDU commencing in 1996. The EHWBDU are made with 50/50 ripstop nylon and cotton poplin blend.

BDU's are printed with infrared-brightened dyes. Near infrared (NIR) Signature Management Technology is used in the uniforms to help prevent detection by NIR Image Converters. These photocathode devices do not detect temperatures, but rather infrared radiation variances. NIR-compliant uniforms use a special fabric that allows soldiers to appear at the same radiation level as the surrounding terrain, thus making them more difficult to detect. It is advised not to use starch when cleaning or ironing BDU's, since starch weakens the fabric and ruins the infrared protective coating. A pair of BDU's that has been starched even once should not be worn in combat.

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