England

Royal Navy unveils 'modern' uniform

Old and new Navy uniforms Image copyright LA(PHOT) Des Wade
Image caption The Navy describes the new uniform (right) as "more modern, comfortable and fire retardant"

The Royal Navy's first new uniform in 70 years has been unveiled.

The previous light blue shirt and trousers, known as Action Working Dress, or No 4s, have been worn at sea ever since World War Two.

The navy describes the new darker blue version as "more modern, comfortable and fire retardant".

The crew of the Portsmouth-based HMS Lancaster are the first to wear it. They head out to the South Atlantic on Saturday on a nine-month deployment.

'Bit out of date'

The new design, officially called the Royal Navy Personal Clothing System (RNPCS), has been tested on several ships and submarines, and according to the navy the feedback has been "mostly positive".

It is notable for its several layers, with interchangeable T-shirt, top and thermals, which can be worn depending on the climate.

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media caption"A multi-layered, fire retardant, climate-adaptable bit of kit", as Duncan Kennedy reports

It will offer more protection from flash fires, and badges denoting rank will now be worn at the front rather than on the shoulders. There is also a large White Ensign on the left shoulder.

Meanwhile, the trousers are lighter weight, have slanted pockets for ease of access, and smaller belt loops.

Image copyright Royal navy
Image caption The last major change to the Royal Navy uniform was during World War Two
Image copyright LA(PHOT) Des Wade
Image caption About 22,000 sets of the uniform are being issued to operational and sea-going ships

Cdr Peter Laughton, commanding officer of HMS Lancaster, said: "We are extremely proud and genuinely delighted to be the first ship to wear the Royal Navy's new uniform.

"It is a really practical, smart and modern uniform, and the extra branding allows us to much better represent our service.

"This will most certainly be the case during our current deployment where we are due to transit in excess of 30,000 nautical miles and visit up to 18 different countries."

Vice Admiral Sir David Steel, who oversaw the changes while in his previous post of Second Sea Lord, said the old look was "a bit out of date".

He added: "This is a modern uniform which suits a modern Navy.

"But the most important thing is that it is comfortable to wear in the extremes of climate in which the Royal Navy operates - from the Antarctic to the Gulf."

In the initial rollout about 22,000 sets of the uniform are being issued to operational and sea-going ships.

Image copyright Royal navy
Image caption The navy has released an infographic charting the uniform's evolution since 1890

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