Chinook transport helicopters are currently involved in 15 Royal Air Force missions in 22 different countries. In war zones and crisis areas they are deployed to evacuate troops and casualties, and to assist in relief operations. These helicopters are also used to respond to emergencies in the UK. In recent years these have included resupplying snowbound farmers and helping reconstruct damaged flood defences. The four crew members need to be well equipped for an extensive range of activities in very different climate zones.
As part of a sponsorship agreement, the members of the Chinook Display Team, whose job includes demonstrating the capabilities of the helicopter at air shows, have been issued with highly functional rain suits equipped with GORE-TEX and GORE® PYRAD® fabric technology. In 2018 the team was given 18 rain suits. This year an agreement was signed for a further 20 suits.
The trousers and jackets cater to the wide spectrum of challenges confronting the Chinook crews. These can include situations that require a high level of heat and flame protection. Gore rain suits score particularly well in this respect due to a very special functional feature: The GORE® PYRAD® fabric technology means that as soon as the laminate comes into contact with flames, it forms a self extinguishing and stable barrier.
According to the flight manual of the Royal Air Force, the crew's uniform must be made of a fabric that reliably protects them in the event of an incident involving exposure to flash fire.
(Royal Air Force Sergeant James Begg)
At the same time, these protective garments are extremely lightweight while also offering enhanced freedom of movement.
I can't think of a clothing system that so successfully combines the benefits of flame protection and wear comfort in one product.
WELL INSULATED; WATERPROOF AND WINDPROOF
Other crucially important features are the clothing system's body warming and insulating abilities, plus the durable waterproof and windproof performance of the fabric.
The Chinook is widely deployed in low temperature environments where the wind whistling round you while you're up in the air makes it feel even colder.
GORE-TEX product technology insulates and delivers reliable protection against wind and weather. The fact that the hood can be worn over a helmet is an added bonus.
Gore Pyrad rain suits are highly breathable. Excess heat and moisture are channelled away from the body, helping to lower the risk of heat stress.
As soldiers are often sent on missions to hot countries where they take part in physically demanding operations, the fabric has to be breathable and able to move excess heat away from the body.
The fabric of the Gore rain suits is also extremely durable and hard-wearing – an important criterion for the crew.
When working inside the helicopter, for instance when picking up and unloading soldiers, the garments get a lot of hard wear. So, this ensures trouble free use and low life cycle costs
SAVES ON SPACE
The rain suits fold down small, saving space in the storage area.
The Chinook has to transport all kinds of equipment, so space-saving solutions are always welcome.
As Sergeant James Begg says:
Gore is well known for its waterproof, windproof and breathable functional garments. But I also don't know anything that can compare with it in terms of flame protection, weight and durability.
royal air force
The RAF supports government agencies and emergency services on UK operations and is active across four continents.