there can be only one… can’t there?

14 09 2009

The long and sorry saga of the US Army’s camouflage uniform woes in Afghanistan opened on a new chapter today. Readers will recall that the States’  Special Operations soldiers were dissatisfied with their current uniform, and are transitioning to new digital camouflage schemes. Then just 10 days ago my colleague at Strike-Hold! created a photo-shoot comparison of  some likely candidates. Now the Army Times reveals that a trial is under way to compare Crye’s MultiCam with a new colourway of the Army’s existing, and much-maligned, Universal Camouflage Pattern (UCP), featuring Coyote Brown as a fourth colour. Coyote is currently a popular shade for plain coloured clothing and personal equipment; especially with those users who are employed in the Middle East or in South West Asia, and is also a component of the US Marines’ temperate MARPAT digital four colour camouflage.

The pattern apparently looks something like this (although I’m of the opinion that this particular image, which accompanied the Army Times article, has been faked using computer graphics software):

Is this the new U.S. Universal Camo?

Is this the new U.S. Universal Camo?

According to the same Army Times piece, the pattern is called ‘UCP Delta’, and will be issued to a single battalion serving in Afghanistan in October, at the same time as another battalion there receives MultiCam. I don’t know how long the trial is expected to last, but I assume that the best performer will then go on to equip most Army units deployed in that theatre (although the recent history of US camo development shows that it is not always the case that the ‘winner’ officially wins).

But, surely, the whole point of issuing a universal camouflage is that you only need the one scheme? One scheme to rule them all! Whatever the outcome of this trial, with the Army on record as being satisfied with UCP in Iraq, and the Marines using their own Desert MARPAT, and now with SOCOM wearing variously MultiCam or their own take on MARPAT, is it still justifiable to even aspire to, let alone refer to, a universal camouflage pattern?





camo comparison

4 09 2009

Over on Strike-Hold!, Lawrence has put together a bunch of photo’s showing how Bulldog’s Mirage camouflage compares to MultiCam and the US Army’s Universal Camouflage Pattern (UCP). The States are re-evaluating their ground-troops’ camo uniform in the light of a less-than-satisfactory performance from their  grey* toned UCP in Afghanistan. It’s expected that Crye’s MultiCam will participate in the contest, and maybe some other recently developed patterns will be in the running too. Lawrence’s photo shoot gives some idea of how these likely contenders appear side-by-side in the same light and environmental conditions.

Mirage, MultiCam, UCP side by side

Mirage, MultiCam, UCP side by side

*UCP’s colours are officially Desert Sand, Urban Gray and Foliage Green. To all intents and purposes that’s cream, light steel grey and medium slate grey.





crazy clouds

4 09 2009

Those wacky bureaucrats at the Chinese Ministry of Defence! I don’t know,  not satisfied with hollowing out islands in the South China Sea to build secret Thunderbird naval bases, or reverse engineering several different jet plane technologies to make one cut-and-shut that doesn’t quite work, they’ve decided to stretch the remit of the PLA (Peoples Liberation Army) to encompass entertainment for bored dignitaries. The PLA have been training hard to perfect a number of choreographed song and dance routines, executed in colourful costumes. Here they are singing their version of The Weathermen’s It’s Raining Men, in a subtle little clouds-and-sky patterned camouflage. Sweet.

Chinese PLA soldiers wearing cloud-patterned camouflage

Chinese PLA soldiers wearing cloud-patterned camouflage

So, what would you do with two and a quarter million troops, a growing defence budget and no enemies? Party, of course!

Thanks to T. Zeng and ICUS for the tip.








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