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Military clothing and equipment: escalating global tensions spur investment
published in Issue 75, December 2022
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 which 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.
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Performance apparel represents one of the fastest growing markets in the global textile and clothing industry--and market growth is being fuelled by an emergence of new fibres, fabrics and innovative materials. The market's growth prospects are also being spurred by increasing demand for performance properties in mainstream fashion.
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