After a decade of war, the Army is going to issue infantrymen the cool-guy combat pants that special-ops troops have worn for years. I filed a story on Military.com this morning about the service's plans to begin fielding a version of the Army Combat Pant to deploying units in April. Crye Precision LLC, Massif and Propper International are making 36,000 pairs of the pants in MultiCam. They will be issued through the Army's Rapid Fielding Initiative to units headed for Afghanistan.
I sat down with officials from Product Manager Soldier Clothing and Individual Equipment on Feb. 8 to get the details of the way ahead. For now, the ACP will be made from Improved Defender M Ripstop, a popular fire-restistant fabric. Ground-pounders will get two pairs of the Army Combat Pant. Combat support soldiers will get one pair.
This is the Army's latest attempt to address battle-wear issues soldiers experience in Afghanistan's harsh landscape. Uniform officials have made improvements to the Army Combat Uniform's trousers over the years. They've reinforced the seat, crotch and knee areas, but that wasn't enough.
The Army also plans to hold a limited-user evaluation this summer to test out 1,000 pairs of the ACP in five different design variants featuring different versions of flame-resistant ripstop and twill fabrics. Soldiers will then pick a winner and a final design should be ready for fielding by October. The limited-production versions of the Army Combat Pant scheduled for fielding in April costs $150 to $200 each.
Comparatively, the standard ACU pants cost about $86 each. Once the design is finalized, uniform officials said they hope the new pants will end up costing $100 to $125 each. The idea is the ACP will last longer in extreme conditions so uniform officials won't have to replace uniforms as often.