The Navy is testing a new steam suit designed to protect sailors during steam leaks on nuclear-powered subs.  

If a submarine's pressurized steam line ruptures, the leaking steam is hot enough injure or even kill. Steam suits protect sailors so that they can make emergency repairs.

Although the current suits have been working well for the past decade, the new one-piece suit is nine pounds lighter and has improved access to oxygen. It also includes cooling gel packs and new "easier-to-grasp" gloves. 

Sailors from the Los Angeles class-attack submarine Toledo (SSN 769) compared the length of time required to get into the new steam suits at a recent prototype demonstration. 
"It was pretty dramatic seeing the differences between the old and new steam suits — especially how they affect the speed getting into it, as well as mobility," said Machinist's Mate 2nd Class Cameron Sebastian said in the news release. 

The new suits will be tested at sea drills aboard the Toledo and two other submarines. It is hoped that the suit will be issued across the fleet in a few years.

"In the unlikely event this piece of damage control equipment is needed, time is of the essence to protect not only the individual, but the entire boat," Office of Naval Research Command Master Chief Matt Matteson said in the press release. "The new steam suit provides enhanced flexibility, maneuverability and ease of donning during such an emergency."

Rachael Kalinyak is an editorial intern with Network Solutions.

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