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Military Clothing and Equipment: Escalating Global Tensions Spur Investment

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  • 51 Pages
  • January 2023
  • Region: Global
  • Textiles Intelligence Ltd.
  • ID: 5715455

Military Clothing and Equipment Manufacturers Face Pressure to Innovate as the Development of Advanced Lethal Weapons Gathers Pace

Military clothing and equipment play an important role in ensuring the effective protection of personnel, especially during combat--and such protection is increasingly critical in modern warfare. In particular, demand for military clothing and equipment which are more sophisticated and demonstrate levels of performance not witnessed before is accelerating as advanced technologies and weaponry emerge. As a result, developments in military clothing and equipment are being made today at a pace that is faster than at any time in history.

New technologies which harness nanomaterials and metamaterials are being developed in order to meet demand for sophisticated camouflage which provides surveillance protection from advanced thermal imaging systems, and research into the development of wearable technologies which can optimise the performance of personnel during combat is being accelerated. Looking ahead, it has been forecast that escalating political tensions worldwide and the expansion and modernisation of military forces in several countries will spur growth of the global defence budget to 2028, and significant investment will be channelled into the research and development of next-generation military clothing and equipment, notably military personal protective equipment (PPE), body armour and wearable medical devices.

However, significant challenges will be presented by scaling the manufacture of new and complex products--not least because of the high costs of doing so. Furthermore, there are disparities between the desired performance of such products and their availability on the front line because of budgetary and technological constraints and these disparities will prove considerable.

Who should buy this report?

  • Manufacturers of fibres, textiles, clothing and chemicals
  • Textile and clothing machinery manufacturers - spinning, weaving, knitting, sewing and import/export
  • Textile and clothing brands and retailers like Adidas, H&M etc.
  • Educational institutions like universities, fashion schools etc.
  • Business consultancy firms
  • Textile and clothing trade associations
  • Government trade bodies

Table of Contents




  • Global military expenditure
  • Market for military clothing
  • Market for military personal protective equipment (PPE)


  • Antimicrobial protection
  • Chitosan
  • Copper
  • Graphene
  • Silver
  • Ballistic protection
  • Soft body armour components
  • Hard body armour components
  • Carbon fibre
  • Ceramic fibre
  • Glass fibre
  • Para-aramid fibre
  • Ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) fibre
  • Natural fibre
  • Camouflage
  • Chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) protection
  • Comfort
  • Breathability
  • Moisture management
  • Temperature regulation
  • Weight
  • Flame resistance
  • Meta-aramid fibre
  • Polybenzimidazole (PBI) fibre
  • Polybenzoxazole (PBO) fibre
  • Insect repellency
  • Health monitoring


  • Cratus Wave lightweight ballistic plate developed by TenCate Advanced Armor for use in combination with modular body armour systems
  • Duracam camouflage print process developed by Pincroft Dyeing and Printing
  • Modular soldier protection system developed by Source Tactical Gear
  • Prototype jacket which can provide thermal camouflage developed by the Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre (GEIC), the National Graphene Institute (NGI) and Vollebak
  • Spectra Shield 6166 developed by Honeywell for hard body armour
  • Spray process for applying finishes incorporating permethrin developed by Pincroft Dyeing and Printing
  • Tactical modular armour system developed by Paraclete
  • Zenturio ballistic helmet developed by ULBRICHTS Protection


List of tables
Table 1: Military expenditure by leading countries, 2021
Table 2: National Institute of Justice (NIJ) Standard 0101.06: test variables and performance requirements, 2008
Table 3: Mechanical properties of various reinforcement fibres
Table 4: Mechanical properties of various types of glass fibre
Table 5: Mechanical properties of various bast fibres
Table 6: Mechanical and thermal properties of various flame resistant fibres

List of Figures
Figure 1: Flexi Spine Bar and War Belt



Executive Summary

Manufacturers of military clothing and equipment are facing mounting pressure to innovate, according to “Military clothing and equipment: escalating global tensions spur investment”. This pressure has intensified as armed forces worldwide brace for conflict in the wake of the war in Ukraine and as opposition forces make significant advances in the development of new technologies and weaponry.

In particular, major strides are being made in the development of lethal weapons and surveillance systems which render conventional military clothing and equipment redundant.

In response, manufacturers are working on new technologies which can provide effective protection of personnel, especially during combat-including next-generation body armour, uniforms capable of concealing thermal signatures, and wearable devices that can optimise performance.

For example, research into the potential of nanomaterials for use in the manufacture of uniforms that can conceal thermal signatures has shown promise. Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) and graphene, in particular, possess excellent mechanical and thermal properties which enable them to absorb and dissipate radiation emitted by infrared radar systems. As a result, research is being conducted into textile coatings that contain CNTs and graphene.

It is thought that military personnel wearing uniforms treated with such coatings could display much smaller thermal signatures than military personnel wearing conventional uniforms.

An alternative field of research that has shown early promise is the potential of metamaterials in the manufacture of uniforms. Metamaterials are capable of redirecting or bending light and electromagnetic (EM) radiation, thereby effectively rendering objects invisible.

Global demand for such innovations is expected to rise over the period between 2020 and 2028 as a result of escalating political tensions worldwide and the expansion and modernisation of military forces in several countries.

Global tensions are escalating following Russia’s military invasion of Ukraine-the largest military attack on a sovereign state in Europe since the Second World War.

Furthermore, concerns are growing over an increase in anti-state activities worldwide and a rise in far-right terrorism, including an increase in terrorist activity in Israel, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey.

Despite an increase in demand for innovation in military clothing and equipment, significant challenges will be presented by scaling the production of new and complex technologies-not least because of the high costs of doing so. 

Furthermore, there are disparities between, on one hand, the desired performance of some technologies for use in the manufacture of military uniforms and, on the other, their availability because of budgetary and technological constraints. These disparities will prove considerable.

Companies Mentioned

  • Honeywell 
  • National Graphene Institute (NGI) 
  • Paraclete
  • Pincroft Dyeing and Printing
  • Source Tactical Gear
  • TenCate Advanced Armor
  • ULBRICHTS Protection
  • Vollebak