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New-look soldiers - Jamaica Defence Force to change uniform

Published:Wednesday | January 14, 2015 | 12:00 AM
Contributed New-look soldier
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When next you see a Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) soldier in operation, he will be in a new-look uniform. The JDF is expected to unveil, today, a new digital combat uniform (DCU) to replace the existing disrupted pattern material (DPM) camouflage uniform that it has worn since 1992.

The new uniform, which the JDF says will become standard issue tomorrow, will have both land and naval variations. The JDF says this new operational uniform is up to 50 per cent more effective at camouflaging troops than the outgoing DPM "as it blends more easily into both the urban and jungle-type terrain and coastal conditions that the JDF is most likely to operate in".

The new digital camouflage pattern comprises a number of small rectangular pixels of colour instead of the old macro-pattern (big blobs) of the DPM.

"This makes for better camouflaging properties as it more closely mimics the dappled textures and rough boundaries found in natural settings."

According to Maj Basil Jarrett, civil military cooperation and media affairs officer for the JDF: "The change in uniform is driven by the JDF's commitment to constantly improving itself, its operational readiness, and its overall efficiency and functionality. These considerations are a top priority in our planning cycle as we are always looking to do things better."

 

MORE COST-EFFECTIVE

 

Jarrett also pointed out that the new digital uniforms are a more cost-effective alternative to the current camouflage uniforms.

"Many militaries worldwide have discontinued their use of DPM, leading to a decline in the number of suppliers of the material. This has led to a subsequent increase in uniform prices, causing it to be less affordable to source and to distribute. In addition, the new material features rip-stop technology and is, therefore, much more hard-wearing, durable and maintenance free, making it far cheaper over the long term."

Another point of concern regarding the old uniform is that the phasing out of DPM by larger militaries has led to uniform stocks becoming accessible to civilians. This has presented a breach of security as these uniforms often end up in the hands of criminals, as discovered in several recent joint police-military operations. The new DCU will have certain built-in security and identification features that are not easily duplicated.

Jarrett was quick to add that "although the JDF's uniform has changed, the reputation, roles, and responsibilities of the Force will not. The JDF is still 'Jamaica's Defence Force' and remains a vital national security asset making invaluable contributions to national security and development".