MoD unveils new protection and uniforms for troops

The MOD today unveiled the third and final phase of the MOD’s pelvic protection system that will provide increased protection to troops on the frontline in Afghanistan.

Delivered as an Urgent Operational Requirement and designed to mitigate the effects of explosions on the front line, the pelvic protection system balances protection with the necessary comfort and manoeuvrability for troops to undertake operations.

Tier One is worn as underwear, manufactured from scientifically-tested ballistic silk that provides an initial level of protection to mitigate against the effects of blasts, including shrapnel. Tier Two is a second layer of detachable pelvic body armour, worn by troops when carrying out higher risk tasks outside the wire. The third and final tier of the system consists of ballistic knee length shorts, designed for use by troops whose roles demand greater levels of protection on patrol – such as those operating the lead metal detector in teams searching for Improvised Explosive Devices.

In an initial contract with Hawk Protection Ltd worth £2.8 million, 12,000 sets of Tier Three will be delivered to troops on the next three deployments to Afghanistan.

Along with the first two layers of pelvic protection, Tier Three integrates with the rest of troops’ personal kit, which has now been redesigned specifically to be worn with body armour. Troops deploying to Afghanistan in October are to be amongst the first to benefit from this 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 frontline.

The different layers include a T-shirt, thermal shirt and windproof thermal smock and take advantage of developments in material technology to provide both thermal insulation and sweat wicking. On the Multi Terrain Pattern (MTP) camouflage 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.

Minister for Defence, Equipment, Support and Technology Peter Luff, said:

"Troops on operations already have world-renowned body armour but we continually seek to improve the personal protection available to them. I’m delighted that the final phase of this pelvic protection system - already proving very effective on operations - has now been delivered to troops in Afghanistan. Along with the new Personal Clothing System, this will afford our troops greater protection, versatility and comfort on operations. This investment in cutting edge science and technology will benefit the long term welfare of our troops, demonstrating our commitment to providing them with the best possible kit on the front line."

In addition, troops in Afghanistan are to be issued with innovative bacteria-zapping socks - which are completely waterproof.

The knee length socks will 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. Secured under a £1.6m, four year contract with Norfolk based company SealSkinz, they will be issued to troops deploying to Afghanistan in October.

All this equipment was on show today at the Op HERRICK 15 media day on Salisbury Plain.