Royal Navy trials new combat uniform
19 Mar 12
A new combat uniform for the Royal Navy is being trialled by HMS Daring while on counter-piracy operations in the Gulf.
Sailors on board the new Type 45 destroyer are now wearing a specially-designed dark blue kit in place of the Royal Navy's traditional light blue outfit known as the Number 4 dress. This is the first new uniform to be worn by sailors on operations for 20 years.
The new kit is designed to be much more versatile and adaptable to the different weather conditions that the Royal Navy encounters as it carries out operations around the globe.
Each sailor on board HMS Daring has been issued multiple layers including a t-shirt, shirt, thermal fleece and windproof jacket - all in the new darker colour. The trousers have slanted pockets on the legs so it is easier to use them when sitting down.
The whole uniform has been designed to make it easier to get dressed quickly - something that is essential for those on board ships who may have to be woken up in the event of an incident. The boots have zips as well as laces, and the collar can be turned up and fastened instantly with Velcro rather than fiddling with buttons.
Lieutenant Commander Ben Hughes, HMS Daring's Logistics Officer, said:
"So far the reaction on board the ship has been very positive. People were initially apprehensive but it is a very practical uniform that looks much more modern.
"The boots are very comfortable as well, especially for people who are stood on their feet all day, and with the zip it makes it easier to just pull them on and off."
The Royal Navy emblem worn on the upper arm with the ship's badge emblazoned on the other also make the wearers instantly recognisable as Royal Navy personnel. Rank badges are worn at the front rather than on the shoulders to ensure an individual is instantly identifiable:
"It is a dark blue version of the Army's new Multi-Terrain Pattern uniform," added Lt Cdr Hughes.
"People here are really proud to be wearing it; HMS Daring is a new ship on her first deployment and the fact that we get to trial a new uniform seems appropriate."
The first-in-class of the Royal Navy's six new Type 45 destroyers, HMS Daring is working to ensure maritime security in the busy shipping lanes of the Gulf alongside partner navies including those from the US, Australia and France. She will be taking on a number of operations, including counter-piracy.
The first time a Type 45 destroyer has ever been to the region, HMS Daring has travelled more than 7,000 miles (11,265km) since leaving Portsmouth in January, successfully sailing through busy shipping lanes and chokepoints such as the Suez Canal and the Strait of Hormuz.
HMS Daring's Commanding Officer, Captain Guy Robinson, said:
"This deployment is not a first for the Royal Navy, but it is a first for this ship, and as such there is a high level of interest and expectation.
"As well as being the first-of-class going on her first deployment this is the first time an air defence platform has worked in this area since 2008, and we are pleased to be bringing in this highly capably warship."
The new uniform is being manufactured by a British company as part of a £250,000 contract. Similar trials of the new uniform are due to take place on the Type 23 frigate HMS Westminster and the Trafalgar Class submarine HMS Talent.
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