Navy gets 'versatile' new uniform

The Royal Navy's new combat uniform
Image caption "Number 4 dress" is the first new uniform designed for Royal Navy operations in 20 years

Royal Navy sailors have begun wearing a "versatile" new uniform designed for quicker dressing during operations.

The new dark blue kit has collars that can be fastened instantly with Velcro rather than buttons, and zips as opposed to laces for the boots.

In another change, rank badges will be more visible on the front of the uniform, rather than on the shoulders.

The kit is being trialed by the crew of new Type 45 destroyer HMS Daring, on counter-piracy ops in the Gulf.

Lt Cdr Ben Hughes, logistics officer on the £1bn ship, said there had been a "very positive" reaction to the "practical", "more modern" outfit.

'£250,000 contract'

"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," he said.

"HMS Daring is a new ship on her first deployment and we are excited about being the first to try out the new clothing too."

Known as "Number 4 dress", it is the first new uniform designed for operations in 20 years, and replaces the service's traditional light blue kit.

The outfit includes a T-shirt, shirt, thermal fleece, windproof jacket and boots.

A British company won a £250,000 contract to manufacture it, and similar trials will take place on the frigate HMS Westminster and submarine HMS Talent.

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