The US Army has expressed interest in using hemp in the construction of ghillie suits for its snipers, says a recent request for information. The next step is to investigate whether hemp fibers can help camouflage the army’s snipers better and to investigate any potential health risks the fibers may present. If all passes, we could soon see (or perhaps not see) snipers decked out in hemp.
In a Request For Information (RFI) published last week, the US army said it wanted to explore alternative materials to improve the uniforms used by snipers for camouflage.
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US Army Could Use Hemp for Ghillie Camouflage
Hemp and jute are among the materials the military says could be used as a backing for “Operational and Individual Garments for Ghillie Camouflage (IGS).”
“The interest is specifically in a yarn used to break the silhouette of snipers, made from jute, hemp, or similar natural fiber,” the notice reads.
Army Has Specific Requirements
The division of the army in charge of the management of the products for the clothing of the soldiers and the personal equipment is “looking for a yarn of jute, hemp or a similar natural fiber, of a weight of 48 lbs, 3-ply, natural color,” the review continues. “Current demand for jute/hemp yarn is 400,000 yards” or 366 kilometers.
A New and Improved Concealment System
“The IGS is a new and improved concealment system developed to meet the concealment needs of snipers. The IGS features changeable camouflage materials (e.g., jute, hemp, or similar natural fiber) that snipers can use to change their appearance. Jute, hemp, or other natural fiber from the IGS will help conceal the sniper and scout during missions, allowing them to remain undetected near enemy forces.”
The United States federally legalized hemp under the 2018 Farm Bill. And while many have come to associate the crop with its derivatives like CBD oil, there is growing interest in its other industrial applications, mainly due to its exceptional durability, versatility, and low environmental impact.
Army to Investigate Potential for Concealment
Now the US military wants to see if this culture has the potential to better camouflage its snipers. The RFI specifies that hemp yarn can be spun in the country or imported from other countries, unlike jute which must be produced in the United States even if the fiber comes from a foreign source.
“The material must not present a risk to the soldier’s health and must show its compatibility with direct and prolonged contact with the skin,” specifies the text. Also, the material cannot “add a significant amount of weight” to uniforms. Responses to the request for information are expected by July 27.
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