DRDO sources told Deccan Herald that DEBEL has developed battery-operated arctic gloves, shoe insoles, jacket besides thermal clothing, a combination of which, they believe will help mitigate problems that our soldiers face in adversely cold climatic conditions.
All of these, sources said are developed using precise fabrics and raw material in order to meet the inescapable requirements needed to give the soldier the desired operational comfort and support. “We have already completed advanced trials of the products and are in the process of transferring technology for the production,” they said.
The battery-operated cold weather thermal gloves and jackets will have an active heating element –– involving heating tapes, temperature controller and light weight Li-ion rechargeable batteries –– specially designed for the pilots of Indian Air Force operating at very high altitudes while the shoe insoles are designed using innovative technology wherein mild heating is produced in the soles that is sufficient to keep the feet warm in extreme cold weather conditions.
The thermal clothing will provide protection primarily for the aircrew positioned at high altitudes. A highly placed DRDO source said: “The gloves meet the requirements of extreme cold weather high altitude conditions and provide protection upto 30 degree C and heat up automatically when temperature drops below 20 degree C, maintaining the temperature within physiological comfort.”
Soldiers, he said, grapple with extreme climatic conditions which cause them severe physiological stress. “Physiological stresses are more commonly encountered in extreme cold weather prevalent at high altitudes and can be a highly limiting factor in a soldier’s performance in combat missions,” he said.
The normal physiological responses to cold weather are shivering and diversion of blood away from the extremities leading the surface skin to sink inwards. In extreme cold conditions particularly, survival itself becomes difficult due to various cold weather sicknesses like frostbite, Hypothermia and so on.
Making life simple for soldiers
Battery operated flexible heating tapes with a thermostat will help maintain the temperature in the range of 22- 28°C, essential to maintain the usual dexterity and comfort level of the hand. Insole: Functionalised with suitable flexible heating tape and temperature controller to provide warmth with the temperature thermostatically controlled in the range of 20-30°C. Jacket: Has tailor made multi functional layers each contributing to physical, mechanical, thermal resistance, heat and moisture vapour transmission properties. Thermal clothing: Unlike the battery operated vest, this high performance clothing provides insulation against cold weather based on multi-layered concept. The suit is essentially a single piece overall that is ergonomically designed to meet a combination of functional and comfort properties.