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Bangladesh going ahead in exporting defense textile

Bangladesh targets to export defense textile of $25 million in FY2019-20

Textiles for military uniforms face a complex set of challenges. They must provide protection, durability and comfort in a wide range of hostile environments. The general requirements of military textiles are damage resistance, comfort, sweat management, cold-weather conditions and the integration of high-tech materials into uniforms.

Bangladesh-in-exporting-defense-textile
Figure: The general requirements of military textiles are damage resistance, comfort, sweat management, cold-weather conditions and the integration of high-tech materials into uniforms.

History of defense textile

Humans have used forms of protective armor in combat for at least five millennia. At first animal skins and furs were the only protection both in combat and in cold weather. Tall headwear made from animal furs (bearskin caps), feather (ostrich) or carrying tall plumes to increase the apparent height of troops. The materials used were all of the natural origins like as, wool, cotton, silk, flax, horsehair, furs from bears, seals, tigers, leopards, etc. feather from birds such as chickens, peacock and ostrich.

The British forces adopted khaki-colored cotton made uniforms in 1902. This cotton uniform gave insufficient protection from a different climate. So, wool worsted twill fabric uniforms were used afterward. All non-clothing materials, like- tents, covers, nets, load carriage items, sleeping systems made from natural fibers (wool, cotton, flax, jute, hemp, sisal).

In 1930, the new fiber ‘Nylon’ was used for light strong parachute canopies and the development of Ventile cotton fabric (waterproof but water vapor permeable fabric) for aircrew survival clothing. The British Royal Air Force and the US Army Air Corps created and issued protective vests to flight personnel beginning early in the Second World War.

These early ballistic resistant armors were known as ‘flak’ jackets because German Anti-Aircraft Artillery was known as FLAK. Thus, flak jackets are ballistic-resistant garments intended solely to defend a body from shrapnel, or explosion fragments, and not from bullets. These first flak vests contained steel plates carried in multiple plies of nylon fabric that protected against relatively low-velocity shrapnel.

‘Denison smock’ is a fabric which was used for military purpose. It was a lightweight windproof cotton gabardine fabric and bearing camouflage in 1941 (UK).

In 1944, a sand color vehicle cover was introduced for desert warfare. The USA introduced the layered combat clothing concept in 1943. In 1970, the olive green 100% cotton satin drill fabric was invented. The 1st four-color printed combat material was introduced in 1972 in the UK.

Defense textile should be

Lightweight fire-retardant fabric is necessary for the clothing of the Naval and Armed forces personnel. Especially for the person engaged in engineering works and working in the heated condition. Moreover, military clothing should be capable to protect them from cold and should have buoyant properly.

Some clothing of such property is manufactured on a commercial basis. Canadian forces are using such type of clothing. These types of clothing are made of Nomex fiber. Head hoods and hand gloves made of Kevlar fiber are used by the New Zeland naval forces. Besides those clothing, a different type of flame retardant apparels is manufactured and used by the naval and armed forces.

Any brand with the ‘Made in Bangladesh’ tag, is considered as a high-value brand across the world. For this reason, Bangladesh is trying hard for growing its defense textile segment to earn from abroad.

NASA (National Aeronautic Space Authority) has prescribed clothing of special property to protect the soldiers from the critical environment during warfare. As such clothing, cotton fabric has been considered as the best because of comfortability, electrical resistivity and skin sensitivity.

Chemically treated cotton fabrics are used for the manufacture of such clothing. Two-ply fabrics are used for the clothing. The chemically treated cotton fabric plies are 244 grams per square yard mercerized knitted single jersey fabrics. These fabrics are flame retardant finished with THPOH/NH3 and DAP/Urea in two steps.

As a result, this type of clothing shows better flame retardancy and burning retardancy properly, this is approved by NASA. Blanket made for the soldiers is made of two-ply fabric made from glass fiber and in between the two-ply fabric. Fibrous silica is used. Besides those, as heat resistant clothing needle felt nomexfibre, ceramic and graphite fiber is a woven fabric. Silicon rubber-coated fabrics also used on this.

The materials that are used nowadays for making defense textiles, are-Polyester, Cotton, High Tenacity Polyester, Kevlar, Coolmax, Meta Aramid, Lycra, Nomex, etc.

Global market scenario

Armed forces textile is a part of technical textiles. The protection and military application of smart textiles is expected to remain the largest market segment over the next six years. In advanced countries, more than 40% of total textile manufacturing activity involves technical textiles.

China has devoted around 20% of its textile production in this field. Asia is emerging as a powerhouse of both production and end-use consumption of technical textiles. Asia Pacific is expected to be the fastest-growing regional market, with an estimated CAGR of 25.2% from 2013 to 2020.

April 2016, the University of Massachusetts and Institute for Soldier Nanotechnology were granted USD 75 million by the US Department of Defense, for the development of smart textiles. Indian Army, the second largest in the world, requires 18.6 million modular bullet-proof jackets and is open for tenders for 10 years.

The budget allocated for this procurement is about USD 150 million, with provisions for a vast modernization program. This offers a great opportunity for military textile vendors to explore and produce in-house capabilities and products for soldiers, thus driving the military smart textiles market.

Bangladesh’s panorama in defense textiles

According to the Export Promotion Bureau of Bangladesh, the country earned $11.82 million in July-January of FY2019-20 from $11.21 million in the same period of the last fiscal year.

Bangladesh RMG sector exported $21.08 million in FY2018-19 and targeting to export $25 million in FY2019-20, which is 18.37 percent higher than the last year and it’s about 5.44 percent higher than the target.

global-defense-export-scenario

Bangladesh Military Uniforms Suppliers Directory provides list of Bangladesh Military Uniforms Suppliers and Exporters who are exporting military uniforms from Bangladesh:

Le Mond Apparels & Textiles Ltd

STYLE MAKER IMPEX (PVT.) Ltd

Three Marketers Ltd

M/S Rasel Enterprise

Le Mond Apparels & Textiles Ltd

STYLE MAKER IMPEX (PVT.)

Three Marketers Ltd

M/S Rasel Enterprise

Kent Fashion [Pvt] Ltd

Nafiza Enterprise

BRANDTEX Corporation Bangladesh

Amptex BD

Unifil Group

Bangladesh-Military-Uniforms-Suppliers-Exporters

In Bangladesh, the readymade garments (RMG) industry is acting as a catalyst for the prosperity of the nation. Any brand with the ‘Made in Bangladesh’ tag, is considered as a high-value brand across the world. For this reason, Bangladesh is trying hard for growing its defense textile segment to earn from abroad.

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