Royal College of Art to help design new combat uniform for British soldiers


The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has collaborated with the Royal College of Art (RCA) on the design of a new combat uniform for British soldiers.

The Future Soldier Vision (FSV) concept includes advanced combat clothing, with new materials including four-way stretch ‘phase-change material’ and silent hook-and-loop pockets.

The enhanced body armour features a new high-tech helmet with built-in communication systems.

UK Minister for Defence Procurement Harriett Baldwin said: “From new materials to high-tech helmets, innovation is all about giving our personnel the kit they need by working with world famous partners like the Royal College of Art.

“You might not expect the MoD to work with an art and design university, but it is this kind of non-traditional partnership which will keep our armed forces equipped with cutting-edge technology.”

A team of researchers and designers at the RCA have worked on the clothing to ensure prototypes were fitted to the body, easy to run in and comfortable to wear, the MoD stated.

"It is this kind of non-traditional partnership which will keep our armed forces equipped with cutting-edge technology."

Several sets of prototype combat clothing supplied by RCA were assessed at the Specialist Weapons School, Warminster, to examine future uniform concepts.

RCA Programme for Textiles head Anne Toomey said: “The RCA was pleased to have this opportunity to demonstrate how our innovative design approaches can enhance value and impact across sectors through optimising existing materials performance and fabrication.

“As the RCA grows its research activities to embrace new materials and fabrication technologies, we will be able to further extend this reach upstream. We plan to become the world’s first STEAM institution, operating a design-led approach to future innovation with materials through the development of our new Materials Science Research Centre.”

The technology used in the FSV is said to deliver distributed power and data, scalable and integrated protection, augmented surveillance and target acquisition, and a range of functional fabrics incorporated into the clothing.


Image: The UK MoD and Royal College of Art collaborate on new uniform. Photo: courtesy of UK Government.