Supplier of the Nordic Combat Uniform has been chosen
The combat uniform manufactured by Oskar Pedersen AS, Norway has been chosen as the common Nordic Combat Uniform for Finland, Norway, Sweden and Denmark. The first combat uniforms will be fielded in the Defence Forces starting from 2023.
The purpose of the Nordic Combat Uniform project (NCU), launched in 2016, is to acquire a common combat uniform that will meet the requirements of the battlefield of the future for the armed forces of these four Nordic countries. The project is a part of Nordic defence cooperation, NORDEFCO.
Representatives of the logistics and material agencies of the Finnish, Swedish, Norwegian and Danish armed forces signed a letter of intent regarding the combat uniform procurement in Oslo on 8 February. For the Finnish Defence Forces, the letter of intent was signed by the Chief of the Defence Forces Logistics Command Major General (Eng) Kari Renko.
The total value of the NCU Project during 2022-28 will be 425€ Million at most, when taking into account the clothing procurement of all of these countries. The framework agreement allows the Defence Forces to procure the NCU system in the amount of up to 65 € Million. The first Nordic combat uniforms will be delivered to the Defence Forces during 2023.
The Nordic Combat Uniform configuration is the same in all these countries, and it includes clothing configurations for the climate conditions of the European and jungle and desert areas.
Each country will use its own national camouflage pattern in the uniforms. Headgear, gloves, footwear or personal protective equipment are not part of the NCU, but each participating country will procure those independently.
In Finland, the NCU clothing system will be fielded alongside the current domestic M05 and the M04 warm climate combat uniforms. The NCU clothing will use the same camouflage pattern as the current combat uniforms. The Defence Forces will procure all the layers included in the NCU clothing system except the snow camouflage suit. The M05 combat uniform will be worn in its stead.
Alongside the combat uniform project, the Finnish Defence Forces is developing and improving its’ soldiers’ firepower and survivability, mobility, situational awareness and maintaining combat readiness. Over the last few years, improvements to firepower have included the assault rifle (RK62M) modernization project and the launch of the development of the M23 rifle system including the sniper rifle and the rifle of the infantry squad’s designated marksman.
Survivability has been improved also by fielding the domestic M17 body armour and a new generation respirator, and by procuring helmets. The capabilities of reconnaissance troops and forward observers have been developed by purchasing new thermal imaging devices and target acquisition and observation systems.
From request for information to field testing phase
The procurement of the Nordic Combat Uniform started in 2016 with a request for information to combat uniform manufacturers, followed by two bidding rounds in 2018-19. In the bids, the combat uniform tenderers described the uniform configurations that, in their mind, corresponded to the functional requirements set by the NCU countries.
Based on the bids, the project invited four combat uniform tenderers to field tests the purpose of which was to evaluate the functionality of the offered uniform configurations in different conditions, and collect user feedback about the uniforms’ suitability for service use.
The field tests for the European area uniform configurations were conducted in Finland, Sweden, Norway and Denmark with the participation of a total of 420 regular soldiers and conscripts. In Finland groups composed of conscripts of the readiness units of the Jaeger Brigade and Kainuu Brigade participated in these NCU field tests wearing NCU clothing in combat training and daily service. Separate tests were also conducted in Finland to assess the functionality of the NCU configurations in Arctic conditions.
At the same time with the tests conducted in these Nordic countries, field tests on the jungle and desert configurations were carried out. In late winter - early spring 2020, these configurations underwent two ten-day testing periods in Australia during which the uniforms were tested by a unit made up of soldiers of the Danish Armed Forces.
After the field testing phase, the feedback given by the user groups was analysed, and technical assessments on the combat uniform candidates were achieved. The decision regarding the choice of NCU supplier was taken based on the assessments and the combat uniform manufacturers’ tenders.