The well-informed source also declared the ROK Navy’s schedule to supply them for submarine crews as of June, 2021. The decision was made as the previous combat uniform, optimized for land-based combat duties, is exposed to dangerous naval environment including fire or explosion, narrow aisles, sharp and metal equipment of destroyers.
Since the ROK Navy first expressed the necessity to introduce a new camouflage uniform in 2013, a South Korean domestic company developed the new uniform in October 2020, after a series of prototype tests to meet operational requirements of the ROK Navy. The new uniform is based on responsiveness to emergency such as general quarters situation and flame-resistance. The new navy working uniform was made of functional fabric to ensure fire resistance, antibiotic action, elasticity, and ventilation, while preventing static electricity. Particularly, aramid fiber, which limits the burning time of fire to less than two seconds, was added to the new naval uniform to protect crews. RFID (Radio-Frequency Identification) pocket was also newly created on the left arm of the uniform.
The authorities told the press that naval service members at land bases will keep wearing the Army Combat Uniform (ACU). The blue-colored uniform is known to be very similar to that of the U.S. Navy Working Uniform-1 (NWU), but its camouflage pattern is arranged more densely than the U.S NWU, which would enhance the camouflage capability, according to the ROK Navy. The Korean Navy also added that the new NWU has been adequately produced to fit with combat and working environment on naval vessels, by dividing it into two seasonal uniforms. Its combination of color is composed of navy, blue, khaki, black, and grey. The Navy registered digital patterns of the NWU and design as an intellectual property in October 2018.
The Korean Navy’s decision is based on the global trend of navies in the world. Several navies including the U.S., U.K., Singapore and Australia distributed unique designs of naval uniforms for naval duties to their crews in order to guarantee survivability and efficient activities on board. Naval News previously reported on the adoption of new digital camouflages by the Italian Navy and as well as the Belgian Navy and Royal Netherlands Navy.
Uniforms for crews for patrol killers (PKX-A and PKX-B patrol vessels), submarines, and destroyers are scheduled to disappear when the supply of new NWU and boots is completed. Considering the acquisition of new supplies and the remaining amount of existing items, the ROK Navy plans to maintain the current service regulation until 2023.