Malden Mills today launched its first-ever Polartec fabrics contract with the US Military, a $17m three-year contract to be introduced with the US Marine Corp.

"This is a natural fit for our high-performance Polartec fabrics," Aaron Feuerstein, president and CEO said. "We have been actively synchronising efforts with the United States Military, from testing and development with the Natick Soldier Systems Center, to serious on-going funding efforts within the Defense Appropriations Bill by Senator Edward Kennedy and Congressman Marty Meehan (Fifth District)." Feuerstein added, "This program is good for our community and our country."

The contract is a $17m dollar three-year contract which will provide the US Marines with clothing made from Polartec fabrics, including a half-zip pullover which, in testing, has received the highest rating ever received for a piece of issued gear. The Polartec 100 half-zip pullover replaces old clothing technology and provides higher thermal efficiency, 30 per cent lower weight, better breathability, durability and less bulk for improved mobility

In the first year, two programs - the half-zip (176,000 units) and the Polartec 2nd Generation Extended Cold Weather Clothing System (ECWCS - 319,000 units) - will create $8m in new business for Malden Mills, and establishes Polartec fabrics as a key component of a soldiers' gear.

"The introduction of Polartec fabrics into the United States Military represents a significant improvement in the clothing technology of the US soldier," David Costello, director of new product marketing and a leader in the Military program at Malden Mills, said. "Polartec fabrics replace outdated, heavy, bulky cold-weather gear."

The contract for Malden Mills represents a program of one million yards of Polartec fabric per year. This new, non-seasonal business will allow the company to balance business and retain skilled workers during off-season, as well as to potentially hire new workers to support the Military program. More than 700 of Malden Mills employees are members of UNITE, the Union of Needletrades, Industrial and Textile Employees (AFL-CIO).

Malden Mills is currently in development with the U.S. Military on additional Polartec Climate Control fabrics. Garments for the Military will be manufactured using Polartec fabrics by Peckham Industries, a non-profit organisation that provides job opportunities for the handicapped, creating world-class military gear while creating meaningful employment for the physically and mentally challenged.

About Malden Mills
Based in Lawrence, Massachuetts, Malden Mills is the worldwide producer of high-quality Polartec and Polarfleece branded products for apparel, footwear and home furnishings. Founded in 1906, Malden Mills is privately owned by the Feuerstein family. For more information, visit the company website at www.polartec.com.