REME Future Army Dress Jacket

In 2009 the British Army introduced a new parade uniform to replace the old No 2 dress uniform. For the first time both officers and men would be issued the same uniform free of charge. The new uniform was slightly browner in colour than that used previously and the cut was updated at the same time, incorporating elements that would be familiar to officers between the two world wars. The uniforms were worn alongside the older No 2 uniforms for a while, before supplanting them completely. Having been in service for over a decade now, the uniforms are readily available on the surplus market. The example we are looking at today is from the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers:

It is worth considering this jacket in comparison to the original No 2 jacket here, and the 1980 update here. The FAD tunic features pleated pockets, unlike the earlier 1980 pattern with pleated pockets like the first pattern, but with scalloped pocket flaps unlike the triangular flaps of the first pattern:

The jacket also added large exterior patch pockets to the skirts of the jacket:

Note also the cuff detail which had been introduced to this design. The shoulder straps now end under the collar, rather than being on top of it. The collar dogs are worn in the traditional manner and match the design on the buttons:

The soldier’s rank is displayed on the sleeve, here the single stripe of a lance-corporal:

A label is sewn inside the jacket with sizing and NSN number, although the FAD tunic still shares the same ‘No 2 Dress’ description of its forebears:

It is fair to say reception to FAD was mixed, as the description on ARRSEpedia explained at the time:

Executive Summary

It has been designed by tailors and military types. Sadly the tailors would appear to have designed the military aspect and the military have done the tailoring.

What is it?

As far as acronyms go, just how incredibly fucking apt is this one? FAD is exactly that, someone’s great idea. FAD is a one-size-fits all concept for the replacement of Service Dress and the Number 2 Dress Uniform for officers and Other Ranks. Like anything, this is not going to come cheap (or be popular) – especially at a time when there are more pressing issues to be addressed and far better and more important things to spend money on than looking nice twice a year.

But Why?

Good question. Well presented! There is absolutely nothing wrong with current Service Dress and the Ginger Marching Suit. They both look smart and the GMS was only changed (to the current cheapish-looking variant) in the late ’80s… and there was fuck all wrong with the previous pattern either.

One argument is uniformity in appearance: the ‘corporate image’ etc. The thing is, the British Army is not very uniform. Myriad regimental embellishments and dress variations will render FAD pointless and it’ll end up looking exactly like the current uniforms, with different coloured trousers and all manner of unit quirks proudly displayed.

Needless to say, the decision has already been made and you’re having it whether it’s needed or not. The brain behind the decision will undoubtedly get a CBE for it… if he/she/it hasn’t already got one. Money well spent… again.

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