The latest camouflage design was developed after extensive laboratory tests and field evaluations, which included aerial and scientific photography to provide the right colours and brightness for the new pattern.
Computer modelling was used to represent the deserts and mixed environments in Afghanistan. This multi-terrain pattern (MTP) has been phased in throughout all British Army corps and regiments based around the world and it replaces the previous Combat 95 uniform.
Clothing for operations – The Black Bag
Soldiers deploying on operations are given ‘The Black Bag’ of kit which contains such items as anti-microbial underpants, designed to be worn for days at a time, flame resistant clothing, for working inside vehicles, sleeping systems, load carrying equipment and the Osprey body armour. For a full list items included in The Black Bag download the document on the right.
Personal Clothing System
Troops deploying to Afghanistan benefit from other upgrades as part of the new Personal Clothing System – a tougher, more comfortable and efficient combat uniform that can be easily adapted to suit the many different environments troops face on the front line.
As well as the pelvic protection, other new layers include a T-shirt, thermal shirt and windproof thermal smock, which take advantage of developments in material technology to provide both thermal insulation and sweat wicking.
On the MTP outer layers, buttons have been replaced with Velcro for greater comfort under body armour. Additional panels reduce wear and tear and pockets are positioned for efficient use even when troops are wearing body armour.
Personal Load Carrying Equipment (PLCE)
PLCE is the current tactical webbing system of the British Army. The webbing consists of a belt, yoke (shoulder harness) and a number of pouches. Associated with PLCE webbing is a series of other similar load carrying equipment and rucksacks. The purpose of PLCE is to hold everything a soldier needs to operate for 48 hours.
This includes ammunition/weapon ancillaries, entrenching tool, bayonet, food and water (and a means to cook), protective and communications equipment. Soldiers will also often carry other items such as waterproof clothing and spare socks.
Troops in Afghanistan are issued with innovative bacteria-zapping socks – which are completely waterproof. The knee length socks help to keep troops’ feet dry when they are wading through ditches and streams. To keep feet hygienic, they have antimicrobial properties similar to those found in medical dressings. They are also superior to conventional socks, keeping feet warmer during the winter months.