"Fast-tracked" defence equipment falls apart

This is absolutely typical of the Australian defence procurement bureaucracy. Have they ever got ANYTHING right?

A charming image of Australian military efficiency above. I think they do better than that in the Third World

Australian diggers are finding themselves exposed on the frontline by their American-made camouflage pants.

The hi-tech MultiCam pants were tried by special forces soldiers before the Government spent $2 million for 5000 sets of the combat clothing. But infantry troops in Afghanistan are apparently much tougher on the clothing, the Herald Sun reported.

"Special forces do a different job to us," one soldier said. "We are out for days on end living in the dirt."

The Diggers are generally happy with the MultiCam clothing, which is more comfortable and better suited to mixed terrain.

But in many cases the pants, which include special stretch sections and built-in knee pads, are tearing along seams where stretch fabric meets non-stretch fabric.

Some soldiers can no longer wear them, others have patched them up, some are happy to wear shredded pants. Some Diggers mix MultiCam tops with old pants.

"The problem is along the stitching where the fabrics meet," one said. "It seems the distance between waist and crotch is too small, especially for taller guys."

Defence Materiel Minister Jason Clare, who fast-tracked the MultiCam clothing and lighter body armour, said the tearing problem must be fixed.

He said replacement uniforms and patching kits had been delivered to Afghanistan.


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