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Canadian Forces – Improved Combat Uniform

In the first redesign of the Combat Uniform since the 1950s, the transition to CADPAT now withstanding, the Canadian military is releasing the Improved Combat Uniform (fr. UNIFORME DE COMBAT AMÉLIORÉ (UCA)) beginning in 2012. This is not the introduction of a new uniform but rather an improvement of the existing issue item based on operational feedback.

The most striking change is that it becomes more ACU-like with 17 changes based on recent operational feedback. Production should commence in June 2012.

In particular, the ICU will incorporate these features:

•Mandarin Collar
•Flat Chest Pockets
•Pockets: Arms + pen pockets on sleeves
•Velcro attachment on sleeve cuffs
•No more draw strings
•Better fit
•Integrated kneepads (two models trialled: “green” and “grey”)

User acceptance trials and working group have already been completed with a design freeze anticipated for No Later Than 11 August. As this is planned as a rolling upgrade to the current pattern, fielding priorities will go to combat units and over time include the entire force.

There are two ironies at work here. The first is obviously that the uniform is becoming more ACU-like even as US Soldiers complain of the ACUs features. The second is that the uniform improvements won’t be fielded until Canadian combat troops have left Afghanistan.

One last thing I forgot to add. The CF Operational Clothing Team made it very clear that the uniform would remain in CADPAT and would NOT be MultiCam.

All photos Canada DND

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24 Responses to “Canadian Forces – Improved Combat Uniform”

  1. lolz says:

    Finally, and I like the way CF went to improve by ignoring the dislike of US forces. As usual.

  2. Administrator says:

    American GIs complain about everything. They could be allowed to wear pajamas and bunny slippers to work and guys would complain. Granted there are a few issues with the ACU like the crotch of the trousers, but it is a MUCH better combat uniform than the BDU. The changes the Canadians are integrating into the ICU have become essentially industry standard.

  3. RMCFrank says:

    IMO, the biggest, most serious issue with the ACU is the velcro & zipper front closure. It’s unwieldy and fragile and the fact that it’s not a feature of this new ICU is a good thing. As for Joes, the moment you gotta start worrying is the moment your soldiers STOP complaining.

  4. Strike-Hold! says:

    “ICU” – that’s gotta be Canadian humour at work there… People have been calling the ACU the “I See You” for a long time becuase of the crappy UCP camo scheme.

    I also like how they took pains to point out that it WOULDN’T be in MultiCam. LOL. The typical Canadian defensiveness of “We’re not Americans!”. ;-)

  5. starlight_cdn says:

    With the USA, British and Australian using Multi-Cam, Canada will be the only one in the ‘Just-us’ league not using it. If I understand correctly (from other sources) there is a new Cam pattern in development. Kinda like a digital version of Multi-Cam.

  6. FormerDirtDart says:

    The velcro pant hem closure seems pretty foolish. Just seems like the last place you would want dirt and crap collecting velcro.

  7. Strike-Hold! says:

    The irony is that the US first copied the Canadian’s camouflage design, and now the Canadians have copied the US uniform design…

    Good thing we’re such good friends….

  8. Practical Joe says:

    Like the addition of arm pockets but have serious issues with Velcro. Its incredibly loud to open when your trying to be absolutely quiet.

    Why not just stick with good old silent buttons that don’t get crap stuck in them and can be opened without a noise?

  9. Old Paratrooper says:

    Unpractical Joe, please pray tell, when are you going to have to be “absolutely quiet” when getting into your sleeve pocket?

  10. lolz says:

    Way to go, Old Para. For the devloppement of the new pattern, we were told the Army RSM that we would change pattern, but I hope they understand that we cannot really have a multi-purpose pattern. It’s relish green. No brown, no beige.

    So, having a uniform that could work over here and Afghanistan (even if we’re walking out) is going to be a problem.

  11. Moose says:

    For the sake of having a uniform that works in all parts of Afghanistan, why not just mix and match the jackets and pants of both CADPAT-TW and CADPAT-AR as needed?

    AR jacket – TW pants = transitional zones

    AR jacket – AR pants = high elevation

    TW jacket – TW pants = lowlands

  12. Blackness says:

    I am just happy that they are slowly designing a functional uniform. Who gives a crap that there is velcro at least it is an improvement over the old 1960′s design. and I really like that they are improving the fit as the uniform looks like pajamas and they are designed like maternity clothing due to the amount of obese people in the CF. nI am so happy as a serving combat soldier that they are listening to what the infantry guys want in a uniform. And in regards to most previous comments take it from the guys that actually where the stuff we are happy with the change.

  13. CanSoldier says:

    Emergency Response teams in canada ( they are like SWAT ) use Multicam and Cadpat along with some other solid colors…this is a much needed improvement to the uniform, although I love the old necklines i thought they made us look really relaxed.

    Cadpat TW works in the forest
    Cadpat AR works in the desert, (yes CANADA has a desert)
    but do we need something to “hide” us in the city????? not to sure on that one, maybe in the future but as it stands now, we’re good

  14. .308 says:

    CanSoldier..

    ERT team is generally the RCMP Tactical and some other municipal teams, there area variety of names that “tactical” or “swat” teams in Canada are known by… ERT, PERT, Tactical, ETF etc..

    I would say none wear cadpad or multicam as a daily uniform. Most wear a black, blue or grey BDU… while some units have a variety of camo (mostly for non urban operations) there is no standardization outside of federal or provincial units.

  15. Comfortable – tough, lightweight material – lots of pockets for compass, ammo, maps, pens, flashlight, camera, binocs – power bars – swiss army knife – kfs set etc. Looks great and has adjustability for various size bodies – this will be a winner – billy

  16. Al V says:

    I can’t wait to see the fat tubs wear this lol.

  17. Nik says:

    As a member of the combat arms. I like the improvements. The shirt will remain long to be tucked in for assault ops. Yet still have the pockets and smock like properties for patrolling. The velcro and elastic bottoms of the pants can work as long as the rcr’s understand that boot bands aren’t always needed and these pants can be worn in a ‘low-mount’. What the real problem here is the summer(brown) boots. We had black boots in the because it rains. To keep the moisture out you want a shell ( first line of defence). In this case it was a leather one. Gore-tex socks are useless/harmful for forced marches/patrolling and they are closest to your skin. We should get issued Lowa Boots for both climates and a tactical boot for both climates. Then a pair of gators and NEO overboots. Thats it. Or let guys buy there own boots and claim them on taxes. All in all the combats should bridge the gap of assault ops and patrolling. Boots is where we are failing. Plain and simple. Give these a shot first. Wait out.

  18. Stuart Neilson says:

    The new British Combat Uniform in Multi-Terrain Pattern CU MTP which is part of the Personal Clothing System (PCS) is similar in cut to the US uniform. It has button closures rather than velcro on some of the pockets and some commentators are complaining that they are unweildy.

    Soldiers will always complain about something.

  19. John says:

    ICU does not seem to be an auspicious name for an uniform.

  20. chinook says:

    i just hope they get us the GI cap, berets are so out dated and funny hats are just funny.

  21. bulldog says:

    @ Nik

    you hit the spot right on! Boots are a huge problem. I like my Mark 3′s for in garrison but any other time you can break an ankle. The US army lets the troops buy their own boots, we should do the same. Your feet are second only to your weapon to take care of in the field and everyone has different feet and different preferences. To be honest untill the old RCR guys retire the black cadillac’s are all we’re gonna get

  22. PPCLI says:

    Here in PPCLI we are allowed to buy our own boots which is nice but must meet certain standards as to looking like combat boots. The new uniform looks nice and is supposed to fit alot better while wearing all of our tactical gear. I can see how the velcro could be a problem, but Im sure if your smart enough and know what mission is at hand you wont be putting the important stuff in the velcro pockets. I think our biggest issue is still that we use all of this green camo when we need something that we can use throughout all terrains and eviroments and not just our own. mulitcam isnt a bad choice, but i guess we will have to wait and see what happens.

  23. Christopher says:

    The draw strings are good for if you get lost or separated from your Plt.
    you could use it for any thing making a shelter ect.

  24. CanArmy says:

    I like the look, and I’m really curious as to the comfort and functionality…

    As for the velcro vs buttons, it’s not a big issue because even if they designed it with buttons, the velcro lovers would complain that it has buttons instead of velcro… Can’t please everyone.

    I agree with chinook and wish we had caps that we could wear as an alternative to berets. Of course we would still wear berets on parade. but for daily head dress, caps would be great!

    On the subject of the CF not using multicam and being the same as other nations, I personally prefer having our own unique pattern. I also prefer the tans over the greens any day and I wish we could wear them within Canada. I mean, it’s not like we need to be covert and cammed up in our own country… Plus, it would have eased the logistics of the supply system over the last 10 years if we just wore tan all the time :)