SOF - PCU (Protective Combat Uniform)
SOF - PCU (Protective Combat Uniform) for special forces. A set of seven-layer clothing, which today insulates and protects against the vagaries of weather, both army special forces and US special forces. Consists of 15 objects, 7 layers. Designed as a more modern and comprehensive replacement for Lightweight Environmental Protection (LEP) developed as part of Special Operations Forces Equipment Advanced Requirements (SPEAR) and is close to the all-weather ECWCS (Extended Cold Weather Clothing System). The system is compact, lightweight, covers a temperature range of up to -40 C. So, the layers:
Level 1 Linen from Polartec Power Dry - durable, quick-drying, perspiration. It consists of shorts and a T-shirt, or a long-sleeved T-shirt and pants.
Level 2 Also from Polartec Power Dry, but thicker than the first layer and from the inside looks like a waffle towel in a square. Includes sweatshirt with long sleeves and pants. Use for extreme temperatures.
Unlike 2 layers of ECWCS, the armpit sweatshirt from the thinner Polartec X-Static also has a 15-inch zipper on top for ventilation.
Level 3 Jacket from Polartec Thermal Pro. Breathable and water repellent. Worn in warm weather as an outer layer or in cold weather as an extra. It has shoulders without seams to eliminate chafing from heavy backpacks.
Level 4 A soft encapsulated microfiber windbreaker, made to be worn with the first and second layer at high activity in cool weather or with the fifth as an additional layer.
Level 5 The main element of the whole complex, a jacket and pants made of soft shell material with fibers encapsulated in silicone. Thanks to this, it is flexible, repels moisture, protects against wind and allows breathing. With the first or second layer, it can be used for any activity.
Level 6 Lightweight waterproof hard shell layer - jacket and pants made of nylon, 100% raincoat with specially designed moisture-proof zippers and "tricky" pockets. It can be worn both on top of the 5th layer and on top of unloading or body armor. The sixth layer of the 2nd generation PCU is different from the sixth layer of the 1st generation. The first generation was absolutely waterproof for rain and weatherproof for the wind, and indeed oxygen in general. Sweat precipitated on the reverse side, as he did not breathe. The second generation is identical to ECWCS Gen III - made on the basis of the GORETEX membrane - it differs only in cut and already breathes, waterproof and protected from the wind.
Level 7 For extremely cold conditions. A light layer of pants, a jacket and a vest keeps the heat even when wet thanks to the combination of soft shell fabric and Primaloft filler.
A bit of history:
Developed by PCU in 2002th. Initially, all of the layers were produced by Orc Industries. At the end of 2005, the second generation (GEN II) was released in which the fourth and fifth layers were produced by Patagonia. The PCU went for official testing in the troops in 2006, but the GEN I variant is most famous - with black lightning and dark velcro. In 2008, a new generation of ECWCS Gen III appeared, made in the image of the PCU (with some exceptions). The main difference is the color (ACU and MULTICAM). After breaking the contract with the army on the 4th and 5th layer, Orc began to release their commercial version of the PCU - MCU (Modified Combat Uniform). A few minor changes were made and the Alpha green and ACU colors appeared. Patagonia also produced for some time a commercial analogue of PCU, and of all layers and in various colors - the MARS line.