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Last Updated: Monday, 19 March 2007, 11:15 GMT
Heat vests for Iraq troops tested
Private Jason Smith
Pte Jason Smith died of heat stroke while serving in Iraq
Hi-tech thermal vests designed to keep soldiers cool while in combat in Iraq are being tested by UK scientists.

An inquest in Oxford five months ago heard how a Scots soldier died of heat stroke when his body temperature soared to 41.1C (105.98F).

Pte Jason Smith, a TA recruit from Hawick, was attached to the King's Own Scottish Borders in Al Amarrah in 2003.

Now a US military contractor has asked scientists at Portsmouth University to test its vests prior to use in Iraq.

The hearing into Pte Smith's death was told that soldiers were regularly passing out because of temperatures reaching highs of 60C (140F).

'Extreme climates'

Some were being sent electrolyte rehydration powders from their families in the UK to help them cope.

Thermal physiology scientist Mark Newton, at the University of Portsmouth, said soldiers in Iraq were not equipped with thermal cooling vests.

"I can't reveal too much as we don't own the vests - they belong to an undisclosed military contractor," he said.

"But what I can say is that the cooling power generated by these garments will make a difference for soldiers operating in extreme climates such as those experienced in Iraq."

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