Minister of Defence Doskozil, Chief of Defence GEN Commenda and study author Helmenstein presented a new uniform for the Austrian Bundesheer on September 26.
(Top image: Bundesheer / PUSCH )
The new dress, a derivative of the current OD KA03 (Battle Dress 03, introduced in 2003), comes in a multi-coloured proprietary pattern. The entirety of the armed forces is to switch to the new model – except for special forces which have adopted off-the-shelf uniform items in recent years. (The new model bears some resemblance to that introduced in small numbers a few years ago, now worn by Austrian soldiers deployed to Lebanon.)
While cut of the dress is supposed to stay the same, the fabric will be different from current models, supposedly more breathable and less prone to tearing. Several patterns of the new uniform will be available on demand for different operational theatres, all with a low IR signature. A step up from the current model, the new one will include internal padding or pockets for protectors. (Only trousers, a light jacket, a cap and a helmet cover were presented on Tuesday, however.)
Introduction is planned step-by-step, starting in 2018: Soldiers will receive the new uniform upon handing in worn out items, as they usually would. Units with a high readiness to deploy will come first, with combat and combat support troops scheduled thereafter. No difference is to be made between active and reserve units.
According to Minister Doskozil, no extra expenditure is planned for the introduction, despite the fact that the new uniform is estimated to come at 66€ apiece (trousers and light jacket), a 10% increase in cost above the current model.
Furthermore, MoD is hoping to be able to give preference Austrian manufacturers; this is to create value in-country and to bolster reliability of supply. (The current model is produced in Spain.) A study has found the Austrian textile industry’s capacity for development and manufacturing to be matching the armed forces’ stated requirements.
It is worth noting however that no tender has yet been issued; this puts question marks on the timeline and price.
A rather charming clip offers yet another glimpse at the new Bundesheer fashion:
PS: The above picture shows what seems to be an Austrian combat vest, but with PALS compatible loops (as found on MOLLE packs); currently fielded equipment sports larger loops (akin to those found on ALICE packs), with attachments such as pouches not forward compatible to PALS.