The Israel Defence Forces announced on Sunday that they were launching a pilot program to test new camouflage-style uniforms, reminiscent of those worn by the US military and NATO forces, which are meant to replace the army’s current variety of work uniforms.
Over the next two weeks, the army will begin distributing the uniforms to 330 soldiers in units throughout the military in order to see how they hold up in real-world situations. The pilot program will last for approximately one month, the army said.
“The decision behind the pilot program came from a desire to improve the operational capability, comfort, visibility, and appearance of IDF soldiers and commanders, in both active service and the reserves,” the military said in a statement.
In general, IDF troops have two sets of uniforms — dress and work. The dress uniforms, made of a polyester fabric, are worn during ceremonies or when soldiers leave their bases. The new uniforms will replace the current olive-green work uniforms, which are made of a special blend of natural and man-made fibres.
The new uniforms come in three different styles of camouflage and two different shirt designs. The pants come with a built-in elastic band at the bottom to keep them above the soldiers’ boots (currently, most soldiers do this with rubber bands).
The uniforms are made out of a special fabric that is designed to take away water and “breathe.” Their designs are meant to be more appropriate for the needs of IDF soldiers and to look more professional than the current varieties.
“The fabric is comfortable, airy, light and durable for the long-term, with special features that allow for work in places that need to be anti-static,” the army said.
The new uniforms also include spots to allow for Velcro patches to identify the wearer’s unit, rank and level of training.
The soldiers taking part in the pilots come from the Paratroopers Brigade’s training base, the mixed-gender Bardelas and Lions of the Valley battalions, the Home Front Command, the Military Intelligence’s Unit 8200, the Israeli Air Force’s Air Defence Command, the Ground Forces’ shooting instructor unit, and the Israeli Navy’s Red Sea patrol unit.
The soldiers will receive two sets of the new uniforms.
“The soldiers will move around in these uniforms only within their units. During the pilot, the following things will be investigated: comfort of the design, the uniform’s functionality, the locations, size and necessity of the pockets, and how appropriate the different designs are for different activities,” the army said.
The final decision will be made after a review of the one-month trial, the military said.
Earlier this year, soldiers in special forces units also received new combat uniforms, of a different design than the ones in this pilot program, which were specially designed to protect their knees, wick away sweat and offer some protection against fire.