multicam for usaf

18 09 2010

…. well, for some of them anyway. The article below is reproduced courtesy of Strategy Page. All errors with reference to the ABU (Airman Battle Uniform) and UCP (Universal Camouflage Pattern) are theirs ;-)

September 17, 2010: U.S. Air force personnel in Afghanistan have been buying (or scrounging from kindly army supply sergeants) the new MultiCam pattern uniforms. That’s because the air force uses a different camouflage pattern for their field uniforms, and when air force air controllers (who call in air strikes) move through the hills with army troops, it’s obvious from a distance who the air force personnel are. Actually, it makes all the troops more visible, because the MultiCam is pretty good at hiding those wearing it, but the difference between the air force camo and the MultiCam is so striking that the entire group of troops becomes more visible. The air force brass eventually got the message, and have started buying MultiCam uniforms for air force troops operating in combat along with army troops.

This was not the first problem of this sort. While the MultiCam was a an improvement on the older ACU pattern uniforms, the troops did not get new packs (which also use camo pattern cloth) at the same time they received the MultiCam uniforms. Thus when troops went off into the hills, the combination of MultiCam uniforms and ACU pattern packs do a lot to ruin the camouflage effect.

The U.S. military has been having a tough decade when it comes to camouflage uniforms. Since September 11, 2001, the U.S. Army has changed camouflage patterns for their combat uniforms twice. First it was the adoption of digital patterns, then the current move to MultiCam.

It was SOCOM (special operations command) troops who first had second thoughts about the older digital camo pattern. The digital camouflage pattern uses “pixels” (little square or round spots of color, like you will find on your computer monitor if you look very closely), instead of just splotches of different colors. Naturally, this was called “digital camouflage.” This pattern proved considerably more effective at hiding troops than older methods.

For example, in tests, it was found that soldiers wearing digital pattern uniforms were 50 percent more likely to escape detection by other troops, than if they were wearing standard green uniforms. What made the digital pattern work was the way the human brain processed information. The small “pixels” of color on the cloth makes the human brain see vegetation and terrain, not people. One could provide a more technical explanation, but the “brain processing” one pretty much says it all. Another advantage of the digital patterns is that they can also fool troops using night vision scopes. American troops are increasingly running up against opponents who have night optics, so wearing a camouflage pattern that looks like vegetation to someone with a night scope, is useful.

But digital doesn’t rule, at least not when price is no object. The runner-up in the competition was a non-digital pattern called MultiCam (cleverly designed to hide troops in many different environments). Many in the army preferred this one, but the difference, in tests, between it and the winner, digital ACU, was not that great. Moreover, MultiCam was about three times more expensive.

However, SOCOM operators have their own budget, and had many of their guys out in the field wearing MultiCam, rather than the digital ACU. Now SOCOM has always had a larger budget, per capita, than the rest of the army, and its operators had a lot of discretion to use whatever weapons or gear they thought best for the job. Apparently, on some jobs, MultiCam was considered more suitable than digital ACU. That said, there have been few complaints from soldiers about ACU, which measures up to MultiCam in most particulars, and it a lot cheaper.

Eventually, the services decided that if MultiCam provided even a small advantage over digital, than MultiCam was the way to go. The British Army thought the same thing, and are now sending new uniforms, using a version of MultiCam, to their troops. But for the new MultiCam to work, everything the troops wear has to be MultiCam. And everyone out with the troops, especially air force air controllers, need to be dressed in MultiCam as well.





new afghan pixellated pattern

6 08 2010

My colleague Lawrence, over at Strike-Hold, picked up on some news out of Afghanistan which reveals that the Afghan National Civil Order Police are being kitted out in a desert coloured variant of Hyperstealth’s Spec4ce digital camouflage. The colours, while not the same, remind me of a mix between the old US 3 colour Desert Camouflage Uniform and Canada’s CADPAT Arid Regions.

The pale minty green background colour is not as out of  place as one might think – from just a short distance away the hue fades to a greyish colour and the browner tones in the pattern dominate.





camo comparison two

6 08 2010

ITS Tactical, who did a terrific job photographing several different camouflage patterns in Oklahoma last year, have hit gold again with a repeat of the test, this time in Texas, and featuring a few more camouflage patterns (and a few less duds).

With half an eye on the current conflict in Afghanistan the team at ITS chose a mixture of terrain that included sand and rocks and some scrubby growth. Although the landscape favoured desert and semi-arid camo patterns, four woodland/temperate designs were featured in the tests too – MARPAT Woodland, Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) Digital, Jieitai (Japanese flecktarn) and PenCott. Judge for yourself, but of the four,  I know which one I’d choose to wear in that sort of environment, if arid camo was not available ;-) Well, you would  expect me to say that, wouldn’t you?

"ITS Camo Comparison 2"

The test is very comprehensive, with consistent photos of all the camouflage patterns mounted on a dummy at set ranges in four different locales. You get a chance to pick up to four best performing patterns in each photo set. A tip regarding voting though – to be sure you are voting for the patterns you think are best, familiarise yourself with the designs – and the order they appear in – with one of the close range photo sets, because at long range it gets pretty hard to tell some of them apart, and the picture captions don’t give anything away!

Anyhow, you can check it all out on ITS Tactical’s blog





mtp in action

22 07 2010

Operation Omid do, Afghanistan. ANA Brigade Commander Col Sheren Shan Koradi and his staff planned and led the operation . 500 ANA troops moved into the area of Yakchal Southeast of Gereshk . An area of insurgent activity the aim was to show the ANA , with ISAF support , can bring security to the area . The ANA have been trained and mentoured by the 1 st Bn ( Royal Scottish Borderers ) (The Royal Regiment of Scotland ) . The Commanding officer of the Bn is Lt Col Charlie Herbert OBE

ANA Brigade Commander Col Sheren Shan Koradi and his staff planned and led the operation . 500 ANA troops moved into the area of Yakchal Southeast of Gereshk .   An area of insurgent activity the aim was to show the ANA , with ISAF support , can bring security to the area .   The ANA have been trained and mentoured by the 1 st Bn ( Royal Scottish Borderers ) , (The Royal Regiment of Scotland ) . The Commanding officer of the Bn is Lt Col Charlie Herbert OBE , Picture shows members of the 1st Battlion of the Royal Scottish Borderers ( The Royal Regiment of Scotland ) and members of the Afghan National Army patrolling into Yakchal Southeast of Gereshk .

Image shows: Lance Corporal Michael McLoughlin cleaning a cut on a local boy's hand with the water from his camelbak drinking system.  Lance Corporal (LCpl) Michael "Doc" McLoughlin is a medic with the Royal Army Medical Corps attached to The Royal Dragoon Guards. He is currently serving with a ground holding unit on the frontline against the Taliban in the southern district of Nad-e-Ali. The patrol base was seized as part of operation Moshtarak early in the year.    LCpl McLoughlin (22) from Manchester is the first line of medical support for the soldiers of C Squadron Royal Dragoon Guards who are currently operating as an infantry unit for their six-month tour of Afghanistan. The patrol base is some two kilometres from other ISAF locations. It regularly comes under fire from insurgents, as do the soldiers who patrol the surrounding area to provide protection and security for the local villagers.

Gurkhas from B Company The 1st Battalion Royal Gurkha Rifles provide security for Royal Engineers who are constructing a new road called Route Trident. The new road will allow greater movement for the local Afghans population and help to improve security in the area of Walizi, Helmand Province.    NOTE TO DESKS:   MoD release authorised handout images.   All images remain crown copyright.   Photo credit to read - Sergeant Ian Forsyth RLC

British troops on patrol

Gurkhas from B Company The 1st Battalion Royal Gurkha Rifles provide security for Royal Engineers who are constructing a new road called Route Trident. The new road will allow greater movement for the local Afghans population and help to improve security in the area of Walizi, Helmand Province.    NOTE TO DESKS:   MoD release authorised handout images.   All images remain crown copyright.   Photo credit to read - Sergeant Ian Forsyth RLC

Gurkhas from B Company The 1st Battalion Royal Gurkha Rifles provide security for Royal Engineers who are constructing a new road called Route Trident. The new road will allow greater movement for the local Afghan population and help to improve security in the area of Walizi, Helmand Province.     NOTE TO DESKS:   MoD release authorised handout images.   All images remain crown copyright.   Photo credit to read - Sergeant Ian Forsyth RLC

The Improvised Explosive Device is the biggest threat to life for troops on the ground in Afghanistan.  Scattered throughout Helmand Province, these indiscriminate weapons kill and maim both ISAF and Afghan soldiers as well as innocent Afghan civilians.    But the tide is turning in the fight against IEDs and the British Armed Forces now have a revolutionary new capability called Talisman which is being used to counter the threat.    15 Field Support Squadron, 21 Engineer Regiment who are based in Ripon, North Yorkshire, are the first troops to use the new system on the ground in Afghanistan.    Talisman is comprised of armoured vehicles, optical cameras and remote controlled vehicles.  This life saving equipment is being used to support Combat Logistics Patrols which can be up to several hundred vehicles in total which trek through the country, delivering vital supplies to bases for the troops on the front line.  Talisman is also starting to be used in combat infantry roles, such as for deliberate route clearances.





new australian camo to be trialled

25 05 2010

New photos on the Australian Department of  Defence (DoD) website show a variation of their armed forces’ iconic ‘bunny’ or ‘jelly bean’ Disruptive Pattern Uniform (DPU). The colourway looks to be optimised for semi-arid regions like Afghanistan, and according to a source at the International Camouflage Uniform Society

The Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO) developed a mid point colour set that may better meet the range of environments that deployed troops are encountering, particularly within Afghanistan.
In December 2009, the Chief of Army directed an in-theatre trial of the new pattern to confirm its effectiveness. This uniform is referred to as Disruptive Pattern Mid-Point Uniform (DPMU). Subject to the successful outcome of the Australian and in-theatre trials, Army intends to roll the DPMU uniform out to deployed troops as quickly as possible.

"Disruptive Pattern Mid-Point Uniform (DPMU)"

The picture above (photo by SGT Brent Tero) illustrates the desert (DPDU) and standard colourways alongside the new Mid-Point variaton.

"New Disruptive Pattern Mid-Point Uniform (DPMU)"

Here is a clearer view of the colours (photo by SGT Brent Tero). Visit the Australian DoD web gallery for Operation Slipper to see more.





image of the day

21 05 2010

Image of the Day: 21 May 2010

Army administrator Lance Corporal Jennifer Garraway (bottom right) and Army medic Lance Corporal Nicola Murray (front, centre), both serving with 1st Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland in Helmand province, have become the first British soldiers to attend the American nine-day Female Engagement Team course which was held at the United States Marine Corps base, Camp Leatherneck, near Camp Bastion. The all-female course focuses on interaction with the local Afghan female population, fostering relationships and gaining the trust and support of Afghans whilst patrolling with infantry soldiers. [Picture: Crown Copyright/MOD 2010]




image of the day

23 04 2010
"1 Mercians patrol in Helmand in their new MTP uniforms. Note PECOC 'Hybrid DPM' Osprey armour cover."

1 Mercians patrol in Helmand in their new MTP uniforms. Note PECOC 'Hybrid DPM' Osprey armour cover.

Here’s a close up of that armour carrier, clearly showing the Hybrid DPM in bottle green, caramel and earth brown over tan:

"Hybrid DPM Osprey"





brit mtp deployed to helmand

21 04 2010

The first pictures that I’m aware of of the British armed forces wearing their new camouflage design – the Multi-Terrain Pattern (MTP) – in Afghanistan.

Below is Lt Col Paul James, Commanding Officer of 40 Commando  Royal Marines taking over the  Sangin area of operations in Helmand province, from Lt Col Nick Kitson, CO, 3 Rifles.

"MTP at FOB Jackson, Afghanistan"

MTP at FOB Jackson, Afghanistan

In the photo below, we can see that although helmet covers in the new pattern have already been issued, load-bearing vests, webbing and gloves have not. The figure in desert DPMs, helping to load the Chinook HC2 does not appear to be a member of the  Royal Marines.

RM Commandos in MTP camo load a transport helicopter in Afghanistan

RM Commandos in new MTP uniforms load a transport helicopter at Camp Bastion, Helmand, Afghanistan.

Read the story behind the pictures on the excellent Helmand Blog.





why afghanistan matters – photo competition

31 03 2010

I just discovered an online competition on the theme of Why Afghanistan Matters. The Allied Joint Forces Command HQ Brunssum (which provides oversight to the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan) has been looking for original photos of the country, its people, and those who are fighting to free them from Taliban tyranny.

The competition has just closed, so too bad if you wanted to enter, but have a look at, and vote for, some of the stunning entries already uploaded in the four categories of People of Afghanistan, Beautiful Afghanistan, ANSF in Action (Afghan National Security Forces) and ISAF in Action.

Before this, between June and November last year, JFCB hosted a video contest on YouTube.  The assignment was to create a short video on the same theme of  “Why Afghanistan Matters.”  View the winners here.

Voting ends April 30.

(Image via Why Afghanistan Matters)





multi-tarn?

2 03 2010

It appears that German military clothing and equipment manufacturers Tacgear have a new flecktarn colourway up their sleeve. The company made a splash a couple of years ago with their snow camouflage, based on the the drawings or printing screens used for the Danish army 3 colour woodland camouflage (‘M84′).  Now they have quietly announced

a new “flecktarn” camouflage pattern which was developed for the today’s mission scenarios of the armed forces

"alphacam"

Only one picture on their site, and that’s a small one, but it looks like they’ve used a Multicam-like palette (a colour scheme that’s bound to increase in popularity now that both the US and British armies have adopted it for their Afghan adventures). Maybe there will be more evidence at this year’s IWA and outdoor classics show in 2 weeks time.








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