The New Zealand military forces operating in Afghanistan will be equipped with the newest and most advanced combat gear to provide enhanced protection for the soldiers.

The new combat kit weighs up to 55kg and includes a state-of-the-art global positioning system (GPS), protective gloves and knee pads, lightweight helmets, ergonomically designed backpacks and ballistic goggles with three different lenses to protect against munition.

In addition, the kit contains an upgraded lighter-weight body armour to protect against a standard AK47 round used by the militants in Afghanistan .

NZ Army spokesperson Col Phil Collett said that when you add the whole lot together it’s still a pretty formidable load.

“The kit emphasises the need for soldiers to be fit, to be strong, and that’s why maintaining physical fitness is such an important part of the expectations of them,” said Collett.

The kit will be sourced from all over the world and will be issued to soldiers en route to Afghanistan at the end of October 2009.