The Indian Army examined 15 exclusive camouflage patterns, four different types of designs and eight different fabric options before narrowing down on the final combat uniform it is set to adopt later this month, defence sources said.

The new combat uniform will be unveiled on Army Day on January 15 and will then be issued to all personnel in a phased manner. As per sources, it can take a couple of years for the Army to completely switch over to the new combat uniform with the current stocking and provisioning systems in place.

A defence source said the National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT) — which was roped in for the design and development of the combat uniform — had provided the Army the options of 15 exclusive camouflage patterns, four different designs each for men and women and eight types of fabrics for the uniform.

“The options were evaluated by the Army and four camouflage patterns, three designs and five fabrics were shortlisted,” the source said.

“More than 150 Army personnel across two infantry brigades, an artillery brigade and a military police unit of Delhi were given 15 sets of combat uniforms which were in different combinations of the shortlisted patterns, designs and fabrics for feedback,” the source said.

The final prototype of the uniform was selected based on their feedback and presented to all Army Commanders during the Army Commanders’ Conference in October last year. Army Chief General MM Naravane had given his in-principle approval on this uniform.

A second source said that at present around 300 pieces of the approved prototype of the uniform are being manufactured for all command headquarters for familiarisation of all personnel. This also includes 10 to 20 custom-made uniforms. Commands where women Army personnel are posted in Corps of Military Police units will be provided around a dozen additional sets.

Peek At The New Uniform

The sources quoted above said that the new uniform will have a digital camouflage pattern that would be exclusive and unique to the force. The contemporary design will have the jackets tucked out and the trousers tucked inside the boots.

The fabric will be lightweight, yet stronger and will be quick drying, thus more comfortable for the troops during operations. The new uniform will be available in 13 sizes and the fabric is made of a combination of cotton and polyester in a ratio of 70:30.

Unlike the present combat uniform which is also available in the open market, the new uniform will only be issued to the troops through ordnance chain.

“For the officers, the option of keeping the cloth in Army canteens is being considered,” the first source quoted above said.

A tender could be floated to manufacture the new combat uniforms that will see participation of private firms and defence PSUs. As per sources, it is being discussed if this should be a limited tender to invite only reputed vendors and avoid pilferage into the open market.

The life of the current combat uniform is approximately 18 months. It was introduced in 2008 and since then has lost its novelty due to easy availability in the civil market. Thus the need to find better and modern fabric for more utility and comfort.