Malden Mills scores $12.4 million defense contract


Lawrence, Mass. (press release) - Malden Mills, now emerging from bankruptcy, has secured funding in the 2003 Department of Defense budget to supply Polartec(R) products and research and development services to the United States military.

The $12.4 million dollars in funding will insure delivery of $11.4 million dollars of the Polartec(R) components that are the foundation of the Army, Marine Corps, and Special Operations Forces' Extended Cold Weather Clothing System (ECWCS). Polartec(R) gear has seen extensive use in Afghanistan during this past year and has performed extremely well under the harshest of combat conditions. Clothing items manufactured out of Polartec(R) fabrics have been awarded a 97% approval rating by the U.S. Military, the highest rating ever recorded for a piece of issued gear.

Included in the 2003 budget is $1 million dollars for the research and development of Rugged Textile Electronic Garments for use in Combat Casualty Care. The funding will allow Malden Mills to apply its expertise in the emerging field of electronic textiles to create lightweight, robust, machine washable next-to-skin garments that provide remote physiological monitoring during combat. This will be accomplished by developing an advanced Polartec(R) fabric technology that incorporates sensors that monitor respiration, pulse rate, skin temperature and blood pressure. Discrete antennas will then transmit this data to medics behind the line of battle. This technology will allow medics to perform remote triage determining who needs aid first -- saving lives in the process. Malden Mills' partners on this project include Foster-Miller of Waltham, MA, Exponent of Irvine, CA and Eastern Carolina University.

"Malden Mills is very proud of our involvement with the United States military, " said Aaron Feuerstein, president and CEO. "Our soldiers will continue to experience improved safety, comfort and effectiveness as a result of wearing garments made of Polartec(R) fabrics. In addition, this military business helps Malden Mills continue our comeback by helping provide good jobs here in Massachusetts. This would not be possible without the extraordinary efforts of Senator Edward Kennedy, Senator John Kerry, and Congressman Marty Meehan."

"As we continue our battle against terrorism and work to disarm Saddam Hussein, it is crucial to provide our soldiers with the best resources to do their jobs in defending this nation," Senator Kennedy said. "With today's announcement, Malden Mills can continue its vital role in providing America's soldiers with cold weather gear and other needed equipment."

Senator Kerry said, "This new investment keeps alive a great record of pride and accomplishment in Massachusetts and our nation. For decades our nation's military has trusted Malden Mills to make the products that help keep our troops safe, and Massachusetts' workers have trusted Aaron Feuerstein to keep faith with them, contributing to our national security and the economy of the Merrimack Valley. This new funding is good news for our workers, good news for our economy, and good news for our national security."

"Earlier this year, I had an opportunity to see first hand the need for this equipment in Afghanistan," said Congressman Meehan. "Polartec is a critical component of the military's cold weather gear."