UK — Royal Navy trials new combat uniform

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 HMS Dar­ing tri­al the Roy­al Navy’s new dark blue com­bat uni­form [Pic­ture: Lead­ing Air­man (Pho­tog­ra­ph­er) Kei­th Mor­gan, Crown Copyright/MOD 2012]
Source: Min­istry of Defence, UK
Click to enlarge

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. 

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.” 

HMS Dar­ing is a new ship on her first deploy­ment and the fact that we get to tri­al a new uni­form seems appro­pri­ate.”
Lieu­tenant Com­man­der Ben Hughes

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. 

Press release
Min­istry of Defence, UK 

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