Indian Army soldiers will now have a more comfortable, climate-friendly and digital-patterned combat outfit for their operations in topographies ranging from deserts and freezing altitudes to forests and plains.
Army Chief General MM Narvane unveiled the new combat uniform for the troops on the occasion of Army Day on January 15.
The new uniform blends in original colours of olive with earthen shades. Only the pattern will be digital this time around. The uniform has been designed keeping in mind the operational condition of the soldiers and the varied terrains they are required to negotiate.
The attire has been put together by a team of designers from the National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT) keeping in mind the four Cs outlined by the Army – comfort, climate, camouflage, and confidentiality.
The new uniform is different from the old one – which has been use since 2008 – in terms of pattern, camouflage design and the use of a more breathable fabric.
Unlike the earlier uniform, digital print has been used in the new version, with a more compact fatigue design.
Sturdier, more breathable fabric
The fabric of the new uniform is said to be ergonomically designed to be more breathable, sturdier and suited to a range of terrains. The textile designers have used a 70:30 blend of cotton and polyester for the uniform to make it lightweight, quicker to dry and comfortable to wear in hot and humid weather.
The Army has said that the fabric is 15 per cent lighter and 23 per cent stronger against tears when compared to the older version. It can be used for long hours and has been equipped with inbuilt micro features for the benefit of the wearer.
The designers reportedly have taken reference from combat uniforms of armies of different countries to develop the costume.
The overall design of the uniform has been developed keeping in mind both male and female officers.
Unlike the old uniform, the shirt in the new combat outfit doesn’t need to be tucked. Plus, the new uniform has a T-shirt underneath the shirt or the jacket.
The shirt or jacket is designed with several compartments including angular top pockets, lower pockets with vertical openings, knife pleats at the back, a pocket on the left sleeve and a pen holder on the left forearm for combat situations.
The trousers are adjustable at the waist with the provisions of both elastic and buttons.
The caps are adjustable and have an improved quality Army insignia.
Why were the uniforms changed?
The initiative to roll out new uniforms was taken before Naravane took over as the Army chief in January 2020. Later the design was chosen from a shortlist and commissioned.
The NIFT team which designed the combat attire in consultation with the Army, included seven professors, three students and two alumni members.
The fabric was chosen from a list of five suggested by the Army while the final design was filtered from a list of 17 designs.
The outfit, from selecting the fabric to the design, was chalked out with the consultation of textile experts, camouflage experts and designers.
Apart from the need to update the uniform, the easy availability of the Army’s current combat pattern fabric in the market was one of the reasons why a new uniform was commissioned.
While soldiers earlier used to buy the cloth and get their uniforms stitched, now they can avail pre-stitched uniforms in various sizes. The uniforms will have both barcodes and QR codes and will be exclusively sold at military canteens or through ordnance chain.
The new uniforms will be rolled out in a phased manner to around 12 lakh personnel.