The US Army will soon test new specialized suits that are designed to allow the snipers to approach their targets while mixing up well with the environment. The new and improved ghillie system (IGS) will offer a lot of advantages over the traditional system while making the Military snipers look like vegetable men from another world. During World War I, the Scottish snipers wore what they called ‘ghillie’ suits to hide well in the battlefield. The dress was designed to make the soldier look like a large bush. The dress ‘ghillie,’ which is Scottish slang for ‘man,’ inspired the same Scottish suits that they wear to catch poachers.
The suits are incredibly comfortable in appearance with puffy fabric, strips of cloth, and a soft look, but they are not fun to wear. John Plaster, the author of The Ultimate Sniper, described them as, “hot, bulky, heavy–murderously heavy when wet.” Plaster also stated that ghillie wearers could experience “stifling heat from layers of thick burlap.” He recommended drinking plenty of water to avoid heat exhaustion while wearing a ghillie. Ghillie suits can also be dangerous to the wearer in other ways. Plaster described them as “like an old Christmas tree waiting for a spark.” This also relates to the story of a sniper whose suit went up in flames within seconds after a spark from a smoke grenade hit it.
The army is now testing another suit which is designed to deal with these issues. The Army has selected three candidates for the new and improved ghillie system (IGS). According to the PEO Soldier program service, the lab and field testing will commence in November. The Army will test the suit to find out if it reduces a sniper’s infrared signature in the night vision devices, how loud it is in the field, and its tear and fire resistance. The Army is looking for a material which has a lower burn rate.
The new suit will check the heat and weight problem by using a lightweight and breathable textile which are designed to allow body heat to escape. The overall system should not weight more than five pounds. The system will be worn over the standard US Army field uniform. It consisted of leggings, a cape, sleeves, a veil, and similar items. The soldiers will be able to wear all or part of the uniform. The IGS will move into the limited field trials next year. The instructors at the US Army Sniper School at Fort Benning, Georgia, will test the suits. The Army will buy up to 3500 units of the winning suits to equip their on-service snipers. The US Army wants to build ghillie suits that prevent the user from standing out in the night vision and “chameleon-like camouflage using color-shifting nanotechnology fabrics” and “three-dimensional, continuously multidirectional cloaking.”