To make the extreme conditions of a deployment more bearable, the U.S. Army has released a lightweight, breathable alternative to the standard Army Combat Uniform. Maintaining the same Operational Camouflage Pattern (OCP) as the standard ACU, the Army Improved Hot Weather Combat Uniform, or IHWCU, was developed. Initially issued back in mid-2019, all Army personnel in hot or wet environments have the option to wear these alternative uniforms.
Developed for the modern battlefield by borrowing tech from the latest athletic apparel, the Propper IHWCU is engineered to maximize airflow, be quick-drying, and allow excess body heat to escape easily. From there, having the ability to go from drenched to dry in 30-minutes means the IHWCU is sure to be a popular choice for anyone deployed in an adversarial climate for years to come.
The IHWCU is a lighter weight, more breathable uniform when compared to the standard ACU. Specifically, two key differences between the IHWCU coat and standard ACU coat are that the IHWCU coat doesn’t have breast pockets and also features “raglan” style sleeves. Both of these key details reduce bulk and increase comfort in favor of the IHWCU over the standard ACU.
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The newest US Army hot weather uniform is the IHWCU coat and trouser. IHWCU stands for Improved Hot Weather Combat Uniform. The coat is mil-spec GL/PD 15-04 and the trouser is GL/PD 15-05. As of late 2021, the current specification is revision F. The uniform is made in a new 5 to 6 oz/yard 57% T420 high tenacity nylon / 43% cotton ripstop material that is lighter weight and faster drying than the 50% nylon / 50% cotton ripstop used in the basic ACU uniform. The type I uniform is the unisex version, type II is the female version.
The Army’s IHWCU Uniform includes both Unisex sizing (Type I) and female sizing (Type II) as of revision F in both the coat spec GL/PD 15-04 and the trouser spec GL/PD 15-05. Some adjustments beyond sizing to the type II women’s IHWCU include 2 front and 2 back darts on the coat and a slightly narrower waistband with an elastic section in the women’s trouser.
The Army Hot Weather Uniform or IHWCU Uniform specifies manufacture in Class 2 Operational Camouflage Pattern (OCP) only as of Revision F to the GL/PD 15-04 and GL/PD 15-05 coat and trouser military specifications.
With the development of the IHWCU, or improved hot weather combat uniform, the Army has developed a new hot weather dedicated uniform option for soldiers. Up until this point, NYCO ripstop uniforms were considered the hot weather or summer weight uniforms by the US Army, dating back to the BDU coat and trouser. BDUs were issued in either NYCO Twill (winter weight) or NYCO ripstop (summer weight) versions.
The US Army IHWCU, or Improved Hot Weather Combat Uniform, is made of 5 to 6 oz/yard 57% T420 high tenacity nylon / 43% cotton ripstop material. According to the military specification for the IHWCU, this material is tested to AATCC TM135 for dimensional change in home laundry (shrink) and will fail if it changes by more than 3% in either the warp or fill direction.
According to paragraph 4 section 4 of the Army Regulation 670–1, “Soldiers will not mix the outer elements of the IHWCU and ACU. There is no change from the current ACU uniform guidance in paragraph 4–3. As of 1 June 2019, all Soldiers are authorized to wear the IHWCU.”