Mk IV NBC Smock

The Mk 3 NBC suit we looked at last month was very good for its day, but in the mid 1980s the British Army decided to update the design to accompany the new S10 respirator it was introducing. The Mk 3 was only available in olive green fabric, so a small batch of Mk3a suits were produced in DPM (we will look at an example of these at a later date). Whilst this was a definite improvement, the smock still needed to be pulled on over the head and it was felt that having a conventional zipped fastening up the front was a better design. This led to the next major version of the NBC suit, the Mk 4 and tonight we are looking at the smock:imageWhilst the camouflage fabric and front opening are the most obvious changes to the suit, perhaps more importantly was an improved fabric that was more effective at repelling chemical agents. The outer layer of the smock has a silicon treatment that helps waterproof the fabric from rain and allows liquid agents to spread over the surface rather than sinking in, aiding evaporation. A fluorocarbon finish was also applied which acts as an oil repellent, increasing its effectiveness against liquid agents. The suits were also designed to be fire retardant. Despite all this protection, the suit remains breathable preventing the wearer from overheating. When it was introduced this was one of the most effective NBC suits in the world and it remains in use to this day, underlining the general strength of its design.

Returning to the Mk 4 smock then, we can see that it opens up the front, with a metal zip that is covered by a Velcro flap:imageA piece of elastic is sewn around the edge of the hood to ensure a tight face seal with the respirator:imageVelcro tabs allow the sleeves to be adjusted:imageAnd the waist:imageA pair of large angled bellows pockets are sewn over each breast:imageThe stitching of these pockets only penetrates the first layer of fabric so it doesn’t compromise the suit. Another small pocket is fitted to one sleeve to carry pens etc.:imageA label is sewn into the collar giving sizing:imageIn all six different NSN codes are allocated to the DPM smock based on sizing:

160/092                Extra Small                          8415-99-130-6921

170/100                Small                                     8415-99-130-6922

180/100                Medium                               8415-99-130-6923

190/108                Large                                     8415-99-130-6924

200/116                Extra Large                          8415-99-130-6940

Special Fitting                                                    8415-99-130-6925

The underside of the label indicates that it was made by Remploy:imageThis suit was also produced in desert DPM fabric and at some point I will pick up one of those to accompany this example.

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