The Italian navy is set to order thousands of British-developed hi-tech garments, which give unprecedented 'next-to-skin' protection and performance in action.
The tops and leggings, made from super-fine merino sheep wool, are said to be the ultimate in comfort, with qualities that are ideally suited to those professionals exposed to endurance, extreme weather or potential risk of fire or burns.
Other services that involve 'risk takers' could follow and it is expected that 20,000 policemen from a Euro country could soon be issued with the garments, which also drastically reduce the perspiration rate, reducing the amount of water required and resulting in increased levels of endurance.
Derbyshire-based Armadillo Merino says the garments were originally developed after soldiers caught in roadside bomb blasts found their man-made fibre base garments had melted and fused with skin, causing severe burns that are difficult to treat and resulting in life-long scarring. Merino wool has natural flame-resistant properties that help protect wearers.
Head of the company, New Zealand-born Andy Caughey, said: 'Soldiers in the first and second world wars knew the value of wearing wool close to their skin, for comfort and warmth. Wool has evolved over thousands of years to protect sheep in extremes of heat, humidity and cold. By combining modern technology with superfine merino wool, we have created a range of head to toe high performance garments that are so fine that they are have a silky feel.
'We have been able to enhance the comfort and durability for risk-takers by removing internal labels, using smooth flatlock stitching and placing single panels under the arms at traditional friction points. User comfort is critical for operational effectiveness, which is why we educate users so they understand and appreciate the natural qualities of merino wool'.
He said the garments have unique performance properties and tests have demonstrated that wearers experience higher levels of endurance. Merino's built-in advantages, combined with a natural softness and strength, make it the ideal fibre for enhanced protection, performance and comfort in extreme environments.
Caughey added: 'For soldiers on active duty and emergency risk takers, these garment are vital. Some man-made fibres have a low melting point and having these next to your skin in a fire situation can be fatal or cause skin damage that means months of painful cleaning and grafts, as the victims of roadside bombs and tank crews have discovered'.
Armadillo Merino says it is actively talking with military and emergency services around the world and it expects more orders to follow, with support from the British Government’s UK Trade & Investment organisation and its offshore offices.
More Information on www.armadillomerino.com.