RAN's new two-piece uniform with improved safety bootsThe Royal Australian Navy is set to benefit from a new two-piece fire-retardant uniform, complete with improved safety boots. Much of the design for the replacement Navy uniform derives from the land warfare version introduced in the mid-90s by the Australian Army. The two-piece uniform will align with other ADF combat uniforms in its use of the Australian Camouflage (AUSCAM) pattern, but will be unique to Navy in terms of the littoral colours used and the addition of reflective tape on the upper arms. There are tangible benefits in moving to a two-piece uniform in terms of health, comfort and morale. The ability to 'relax' the level of dress, depending on the nature of the operation, is seen as advantageous in combating heat related illness and it will provide both male and female personnel at sea with an enhanced practical contemporary uniform, distinct to Navy. Patrol Boat crews operating in the tropical and humid environments in our northern waters are particularly looking forward to the introduction of the new uniform, and are mooted to be amongst the first recipients. There will also be a benefit of inventory rationalisation as Action Working Dress, which saw introduction in 1945, is also phased out and replaced by the two-piece uniform. Following a review of footwear, replacement safety boots will be introduced into service to provide greater comfort and the inventory will be reduced, with the alternative boot expected to do the job of five other types of footwear currently in use. Sixty thousand sets of the uniform are required for the initial delivery to the RAN and this represents a $13m dollar injection into the Australian textile and manufacturing industries. Rollout of the new two-piece fire-retardant operational uniform will commence mid-2008.