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Guardsmen Will Be Among First to Get New Flight Suits

Flight suits
Flight suits
Washington Report

Hawaii Air Guardsmen are among the first to receive the Air Force’s newest flight suits.

Fighter pilots and aircrew of the Hawaii Air National Guard’s 199th Fighter Squadron and the active-component Air Force’s 19th Fighter Squadron have been selected to field the Integrated Aircrew Ensemble, which is set to replace the legacy flight suit. The 199th and 19th fly the F-22 Raptor from Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.

Last month, officials from Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, traveled to Hawaii to introduce the IAE, provide demonstrations and measure airmen for the custom-fit equipment.

According to officials, each component of the IAE has been designed to complement all other items. The IAE is built to support aircrew in all ejection-seat aircraft, to include fighters, trainers and bomb carriers. And the material of the new suits are designed to aid aviators who fly in harsh conditions.

“It’s all strategically placed so items are not on top of each other; it minimizes the occurrence of friction, hotspots or wear-down on the system,” Carl Medeiros, the IAE program manager, told the Hawaii Guard. “The material is also moisture-wicking, so it pulls moisture away from the body, removing and reducing thermal burden, while increasing mobility and comfort levels. When it all comes together, there’s a direct correlation and improvement to the physiological effects on the pilot.”

The IAE also includes a thermal undergarment for cold weather, a water-resistant layer, a chemical/biological/radiological resistant layer and a coverall that provides heat and flame protection. It also comes with a new flotation device.

The new equipment will require familiarization training, but will ultimately require less man hours to sustain and service, officials said.

Airmen in Hawaii will begin receiving the IAE in early 2020, officials said.