KME has been making various drysuit models for military customers since 1987, when we were awarded a contract to manufacture U.S. Coast Guard Rescue Swimmer drysuits for use on helicopter insertion rescue missions at sea.
KME manufactures the second generation MK-12 System Drysuits for alied navies that have inherited the system from the U.S. Navy.
KME manufactures the second generation (MK-12-A) diving system coveralls for The US Navy and alied navies that have inherited the system from the U.S. Navy
We also make a modified version of the MK-12-A Coverall for the U.S. Army divers and a "stripped" version (no weight pockets on legs) that is used as Chaffing gear by some units of U.S. Navy, as well as commercial divers.
The last MK-V diving dresses were manufactured by DESCO in 1964 as far as our research has found. The waterproof barrier between two sheets of cotton twill was a layer of live natural gum rubber which was not vulcanized. After these many years that gum rubber layer has "dry rotted" into a white powder in most of the remaining MK-V dresses, although there are, surprisingly, a few of the old original dresses that KME has been asked to restore that can be repaired well enough to dive again.
The movie "Men of Honor" rented five original dresses and KME was asked to recondition them. After restoring all the vulcanized rubber breast plate gaskets and wrist seals, we were able to get two dresses to the point that they were dry enough to dive. Oddly, one of the worst leaking dresses was one that came to KME packed in its original military shipping box, still powder covered and sealed in the heavy waxed paper.
KME manufactures commercial working dresses for all types of Hard Hat or "DEEP SEA" helmets, using modern materials. Due to many requests by tourist attractions and hobby divers, KME, working with our material suppliers, has developed a "look alike" or replica MK-V dress that is usable for diving.
This MK-V dress is built to the same strict specifications as the KME-6600 commercial hard hat dress.
The suit material is 1/8" thick neoprene foam sheet with fabric on both sides. KME special orders this material with white Polyester fabric outside and nylon super heavy weave fabric inside. The outside white finish is as near to the look of the old cotton dresses, as it is possible to get with modern long lasting materials. The super heavy weave nylon inside eliminates the stretch, normally associate with neoprene suits, to a minimum, yet allows much more flexibility than the old cotton material.
The knee pads, elbow pads and the leg lace attachments are made of polyester to insure long life. They are sized and placed on the dress to original U.S. Navy specifications.
The breast plate gasket in the KME MK-V Dress is vulcanized black natural rubber, molded as specified for the original dresses.
Wrist seals can be ordered in three types: original Molded Rubber (authentic, from DESCO), Latex (looks close to authentic, but very fragile and relatively short lived) and Neoprene (most comfortable, can be sized to fit, seals well and has long life).
The patterns used by KME are the same as the world famous (but no longer manufactured) "Yokohama" commercial dress which is slightly larger than the Navy specified patterns. The sizes are not enough larger to change your MK-V size when ordering. MK-V dresses are available, on order, in sizes 1 through 5 and customizing is available at an extra cost.
The only thing that KME changes on the MK-V dress is the feet. The old stiff, heavy reinforced feet are replaced with a foot that still looks authentic except for a sole on the bottom of the foot. The standard size is men's # 13, but smaller sizes can be special ordered at no extra cost.
KME also supplies tool bags, weight belts, boots, navy diving knives, pins, caps, etc.