US troops in Afghanistan will soon test new army combat pants (ACP). The rugged trousers are designed to withstand the country’s rocky terrain and have built-in hard kneepads that can be adjusted up or down and side to side for comfort.

The material is heavy, 7.3oz fire-resistant twill compared to the 6.5oz fire-resistant fabric in the fire-resistant army combat uniforms.

Buttons on the back pockets have been replaced with flaps with Velcro fasteners to prevent a rip-off when soldiers slide down steep rock faces.

Fire Resistant Clothing assistant product manager Jeff Myhre said that there was also a reinforced seat for better range of motion, and the cargo pocket on the calf of the leg was larger to hold more mission-essential items.

The soldiers will evaluate about 3,000 pairs of the latest prototype later this year in Afghanistan.

The army could decide to field the ACP sometime in mid-2010.