The Extended Climate Warfighter Clothing System, or Gen III ECWCS (// EK-waks), is protective clothing created in the 1980s as an exclusively cold weather system by the United States Army Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center, Natick, Massachusetts, but has been radically redesigned to cover a broad range of combat climates. The first generation ECWCS consisted of parka and trousers plus 20 other individual clothing, handwear, headwear and footwear items which are used in various combinations to meet the cold weather environmental requirements of the US military (and others). Now, the third generation, or Gen III ECWCS, has been developed to maintain adequate environmental protection in temperatures ranging between +40 and −60 Fahrenheit (+4° and -51° Celsius).
The complete system features seven levels of protection to provide defense from environmental conditions. All garments are designed to enhance a soldier's ability to train and operate in many combat conditions.
Levels of Protection
- Level I: Light-Weight Undershirt & Drawers
- Level II: Mid-Weight Shirt & Drawers
- Level III: High-Loft Fleece Jacket
- Level IV: Wind Jacket
- Level V: Soft Shell Cold Weather Jacket & Trousers
- Level VI: Extreme Wet/Cold Weather Jacket & Trousers
- Level VII: Extreme Cold Weather Parka & Trousers
- "Generation III Extended Cold Weather Clothing System (ECWCS)" at the Program Executive Office Soldier website Gen III authorized for U.S. Army Issue is only currently available through ADS and Tactical Distributors online.
- United States Army Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center, Natick, MA, Use and Care of the Extended Cold Weather Clothing System (ECWCS), January 1986.
- "ADS Operational Equipment"