Dec 20, 2010

Army seeks 3 variants of camo to replace UCP

The new camo patterns would cover global climates and environments
By Lance M. Bacon - Staff writer
Posted : Sunday Dec 19, 2010

The Army is shopping for three new combat uniforms — a woodland variant, a desert variant and a “transitional” variant that covers everything in between.
As the search begins, it is evident the current Universal Camouflage Pattern is not even an option.
Officials are adamant that the selection will not be a “fashion contest” in which Pentagon generals pick the one they like best. Instead, hundreds of test hours and mountains of data will be compiled to determine the right mix of colors and patterns.
In the words of Col. William Cole, project manager of Soldier Protection and Individual Equipment, the intent is to provide an “operationally and scientifically validated” camouflage pattern that will provide global coverage for an expeditionary Army.
For now, the design and colors of your next uniform are anyone’s guess. For example, digital patterns work well in some environments, but not as well in others. Sometimes a vertical orientation is best, while other times a horizontal would be optimal. And when it comes to colors, there are 15 different military operating environments with unique colors that change with elevation and seasons.
The Army followed by testing dozens of camouflage patterns in four backgrounds common to Afghanistan: The rocky desert terrain, mountainous terrain, cropland/woodland terrain and sandy desert terrain. The top performers were MultiCam, Woodland and Desert MARPAT and AOR 1 and 2 uniforms. UCP, on the other hand, was in the bottom 10 for all four backgrounds “and did not perform well in any of them,” according to the report.

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