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Evolution of the Soldier Combat Ensemble

In the past, the individual load carriage and personal protection systems employed by the Australian Defence Force (ADF) have been sub-optimised to meet the requirements of the entire organisation. This has meant that there has been one type of combat uniform and limited types of body armour, irrespective of job or role.

Army has identified the need for a Soldier Combat Ensemble (SCE) that is designed to be functional and fulfil its intended purpose. This means that different types of combat uniform, load carriage and body armour systems are required for different roles and tasks.

The SCE is best described as ‘a soldier system designed to provide protection to individual combatants from physical threats and the environment as well as facilitating an efficient means for individuals to carry mission loads in a close combat environment’.

In broad terms, the SCE includes: combat clothing (combat uniform, footwear and cold weather clothing); personal protection systems such as body armour, combat helmets and eye protection; and individual load carriage systems such as equipment pouches and field packs.

A tiered structure has been introduced within the SCE to cater for the different roles and tasks of close combatants. This structure includes Tier 1 systems for specialist unique roles such as tank crew; Tier 2 systems that focus on the dismounted close combatant; and Tier 3 systems that are designed to be general purpose.

After two years of design, development and evaluation by soldiers, 2011 was the ‘trial of truth’ for the equipment on operations. Components of the SCE were issued to the Mentoring Task Force and to the Special Operations Task Force operating in Afghanistan, with a commercial ‘off-the-shelf’ enhanced combat uniform and new lightweight body armour with a more integrated load carriage system.

Army’s intent is to ensure that the SCE will continue to evolve, with each iteration developed on an annual basis and provided to the Readying Force Elements of the Australian Defence Forces' land component. This will ensure that the equipment is capable of evolving rapidly to include new technologies and/or reflect changes in the operating conditions.

Diggerworks has been instrumental in the development of the current SCE Tiered Body Armour System (TBAS) and continued enhancement of this key capability through Adaptive Acquisition developments. Diggerworks aims to continually improve the Soldier Combat System (SCS) through the identification and development of solutions to short and medium term problems that affect the performance of the ADF Land Combatant. this enables continuous evolution and innovative development of SCS to meet the demands of contemporary operations.

Last updated
8 December 2016
Army: Courage. Initiative. Respect. Teamwork.
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