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.





testing the new multi-terrain camouflage

21 12 2009

This article from a government website explains the rationale behind the choice of new camouflage for the Ministry of Defence:

** EDIT ** Updated December 22nd with new images from the final DSTL press release

Defence Science and Technology Laboratory – 21 Dec 2009 12:10
in Government News Network newsTESTING THE NEW MULTI-TERRAIN CAMOUFLAGE

The Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl), the Ministry of Defence civilian scientists, working with the MOD Defence Clothing Project Team, has tested and trialled new multi-terrain camouflage clothing that has been proven to improve mission effectiveness across a range of different backgrounds.It is the first time in 40 years the Armed Forces have changed the camouflage pattern. George Philpott, Land Battlespace Systems, Dstl, says: “Dstl scientists researched and tested whether a mixed multi-terrain camouflage pattern would improve mission success and basically keep soldiers hidden for longer during ambush operations or when on patrol. It is not just a question of colours; we looked at texture and tone of patterns, how the light reflects and how well it disguises the wearer when observed both close up and at a distance.

“Dstl‟s work is all about creating battle-winning technology for UK armed forces on current operations, and we‟re proud we were able to cram all the work in to just six months, with extra people working a lot of extra hours to get this research and testing complete.”

Troops in Helmand, Afghanistan, operate in a mixed landscape: desert, woodland, mountainous, urban etc. Dstl assessed whether a multi-terrain camouflage was better than the standard army woodland camouflage disruptive pattern material (DPM) or the desert DPM and if so what is the best pattern, or balance of colours. The two current camouflage schemes were tested alongside an existing off-the-shelf multi-terrain camouflage to see which performed best across various backgrounds that soldiers are likely to encounter across the landscape in Afghanistan.

Computer modelling was carried out across representations of the green zone, desert and transition backgrounds. Soldiers operated in various scenarios in a simulated set of environments to test how the different camouflages performed in situations where staying undetected was important.

Overall the multi-terrain performed best, supporting the theory that a multi-terrain camouflage offers improvements when soldiers move between different places and backgrounds. Dstl also conducted interviews and subjective testing with service men and women to understand and evaluate whether they would actually be happy to wear the new camouflage and whether the concept of a multi-terrain camouflage was desirable and effective.

As a result of this work, it was determined that a multi-terrain camouflage could improve mission success so Dstl set about testing available multi-terrain patterns and creating new ones for testing.

Christopher Jones, Air & Weapons Systems, Dstl, adds: “In addition to existing aerial photography, Dstl sent cameras to Helmand for soldiers to take specific scientific photographs of the various backgrounds and landscapes they operate in.”

Dstl teams in the UK, at Fort Halstead, near Sevenoaks in Kent and at Portsdown West, near Portsmouth in Hampshire, measured the colour properties for each image and identified seven major background types. These colours were then used for Dstl‟s camouflage optimisation and testing programme.

Photo-montage colour test

Photo-montage colour test

Christopher Jones continues: “The colours and backgrounds in Helmand are similar to those found in parts of the UK, so we used the colour data from Afghanistan and used it to identify places where there was a good colour match, to allow us to run large scientific trials.”

The Afghanistan background colours were used to generate new multi-terrain type camouflage based partly on the shapes and patterns of the existing UK woodland DPM. These were tested against the current army woodland and desert uniforms, to act as a baseline, and a commercially available pattern from Crye Precision.

The ten different camouflage patterns tested by DSTL

Ten camouflage suits were trialled in five tests to assess overall performance with pilot trials held before the final main testing. The trial team developed experimental techniques, which were initially established through collaborative research with other NATO countries.

Lt Col Toby Evans, military advisor, Dstl, adds: “The detailed tests and trials looked at everything from how easy is it to spot these camouflages in different terrains and backgrounds to simply asking the soldiers who helped on the trial, which one do you like best and would feel happy wearing?

The tests

Observer assessment – a live trial with military personnel asked to judge the performance of each suit at 50m, 100m and 150m. The trial was carried out at Stanford Training Area, Norfolk and at RAF Donna Nook, Lincolnshire as they contained areas with similar colours and backgrounds to Helmand. Additional testing was also carried out at night to test low light performance.

Statistical assessment – using a computer model of how camouflaged objects are detected, each suit was tested for its match to the seven identified different backgrounds.

The following three trials took place at Catterick Garrison and included a large number of army personnel:

Order rank – soldiers ranked how well close-up images of the suits performed against the seven backgrounds.

Time to detect – Dstl measured the time it took soldiers to detect the 10 different camouflage patterns in the seven backgrounds using a computer-based assessment.

Personal preference – soldiers were asked which their favourite three patterns were based purely on appearance and any patterns they wouldn‟t like to wear.

DSTL test of desert DPM

The results

The results showed the Crye Precision Multicam performed the best, on average, across all the trials. The final camouflage has a pattern that is similar to the current woodland DPM as it allows for easy identification between soldiers and this type of pattern consistency proved popular during the research.

Dstl is currently looking at future research into army camouflage clothing, optimising the camouflage to perform well in a variety of landscapes and backgrounds around the world to support wider operations. If this is successful the outcome could become the standard camouflage for all UK armed forces.





more on brit army’s new mtp…

21 12 2009

http://strikehold.wordpress.com/2009/12/20/more-about-the-uks-new-mtp-camo-uniforms/

http://soldiersystems.net/2009/12/20/more-on-new-brit-camo/

MTP close up

MTP close up





multi terrain pattern camouflage for british armed forces

20 12 2009

In the last few days some military news sites, blogs and forums, and now the BBC and the Daily Telegraph, have been reporting on a surprising announcement from the British Ministry of Defence: A new camouflage pattern has been developed, to address the problem of operating in areas that include both arid or desert terrain and cultivated ground, such as that found in Afghanistan’s ‘green zone’ astride the Helmand River.

Why is this a surprise? Well, apart from the fact that Britain has used the iconic disruptive pattern (DPM), with minor changes, since the end of the 1960′s, and has always professed itself quite happy with it -  and the auxiliary desert DPM -  there is the suddenness of it! Even though the camouflage is being introduced to troops as an Urgent Operational Requirement (UOR), as an example of bureaucratic camouflage (what the Russians call maskirovka), the development and trialling of this pattern has been textbook.

At the beginning of this year I was made aware that our special forces (UKSF) were looking for a multi-terrain pattern to use for their issued uniforms. They specifically wanted Crye Precision’s MultiCam® (which I understand they are permitted to wear and purchase  themselves from the manufacturer), but there was a barrier to domestic production presented by US restriction on the use of the licence. Other patterns, including Hyde Definition’s homegrown PenCott camouflage, were considered, but the colours and tonal gradations that characterise MultiCam® were what the UKSF valued above all in a design.

Crye's MultiCam® pattern

Crye's MultiCam® pattern

All seemed to go quiet, and UK Special Forces personnel continued to be seen in assorted uniforms and camo patterns, including MultiCam®. But while all this was going on, much fanfare and spectacle was created by the Personal Equipment and Common Operational Clothing (PECOC)  program, which, as this blog reported, looked all set to introduce a family of far less radical DPM derivatives in to service. The colours of temperate DPM would be changed slightly, the desert pattern would acquire a sparse overprint in a third, darker brown, and  new ‘intermediate’ multi-terrain DPM (with a four colour palette of 3 browns and a green that was vaguely similar to MultiCam®’s colours) would be introduced for use on personal load bearing equipment and helmet covers. Or so we all thought.

Hybrid PECOC intermediate camouflage pattern

Hybrid PECOC intermediate camouflage pattern

Evidently, a satisfactory solution to the UKSF’s needs was quietly found by having Crye secretly create a bespoke pattern for the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD). Quite when it widened from UKSF to became an all-forces affair is unclear, as throughout the development and trials process there was no inkling of the new Crye Multi Terrain Pattern (MTP), outside of those with a need to know. Any mentions of a new digitally designed pattern or a DPM with MultiCam® colours were thought to refer to the PECOC program, which was running along a confusingly (conveniently?)  similar parallel track. Trials were conducted in the UK, Cyprus, Kenya, and Afghanistan, but were kept secret with confidentiality agreements (even the Official Secrets Act can be employed without too much creative thinking), intellectual property protection, and MoD royalty rights. Of course, we all sign the OSA when we join the military, but rumours of new developments always bubble to the surface before long. That little to nothing leaked out is testament to the stringency with which the rules were enforced, and the effectiveness of the MoD’s maskirovka campaign. I don’t know which units were involved in the trials, but it’s certainly easier to do this kind of thing with elite special operations troops who understand and value security. If they should be accidentally spotted wearing a new multi-terrain pattern while trialling it in the course of their normal duties, it can easily be explained away as MultiCam®, which no-one would think to question (at more than a few feet away it’s pretty hard to tell the difference between the two Crye designs anyhow).

Crye Multi-Terrain Pattern

Crye Multi-Terrain Pattern

The pattern itself looks exactly like you might imagine a hybrid between DPM and MultiCam® would. The unique Crye blends between colours are there, as well as their signature ‘bird-dropping’ blobs and streaks of very dark brown and extremely light grey. The shapes within the pattern, however, are very much more reminiscent of temperate DPM than the laterally-elongated woodland camouflage forms of classic MultiCam®. It’s a very pleasing design aesthetically, and promises to blend in various environments just as well as its American progenitor. And just like MultiCam®, it suffers when it comes to long-range disruption, as there just isn’t enough contrast in the pattern. Hopefully, that failing will be of minor significance in the tactical environment in which it will be used, besides which, it is generally becoming acknowledged (at long last) that 21st Century armies are not often going to be fighting from and within bits of dense woodland or across trackless desert plains, but will spend the majority of their time approaching, entering, attacking and defending rural or suburban areas, with their characteristically close engagement ranges. Any camo design that addresses the new paradigm gets my support.

The MT Pattern, on standard No.8 combat uniforms, body armour and personal load carrying equipment (PLCE), is due to be issued to troops rotating through Afghanistan next year with a wider roll-out to the rest of the military beginning the following year.

This wiki article on the British Army Rumour Service website explains the thinking behind multi-terrain patterns like MultiCam®. Contains language unsuitable for minors.





PECOC’s colours displayed

14 01 2009

Our colleagues at Soldiers Systems continue to scour teh interwebs to bring you tantalising glimpses of the British Ministry of Defence project PECOC, which aims to enhance soldier efficiency and effectiveness throughout all infantry-based equipment. They’ve found fresh pictures of the temperate and arid regions kit being trialled, including the new ‘multi-environment’ colourway that is to be used on webbing, load bearing vests, pouches and body armour covers.

See the pictures here

*edit: more pictures of the pattern via this link and this link.





PECOC update

2 12 2008

A couple of months back I ran a piece from the Mail Online about the British Army’s Personal Equipment Common Operational Clothing (PECOC) project. Seems a little more info has surfaced on the web, and the guys at Soldier Systems were there first again. Read more here.





British Army unveils new equipment for infantrymen

21 09 2008

From the Mail Online

By Matthew Hickley

Last updated at 2:29 AM on 19th September 2008

Army equipment

Equipment of the future: The British Army has unveiled the new kit which will go into service in months

He’s deadlier, lighter, more streamlined and better protected – and he’s wearing the latest stylish four-colour camouflage pattern with matching two-tone Union Jack insignia and coral sunglasses.

The British Army has unveiled its latest state-of-the-art equipment for combat infantrymen, which will enter service with troops fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq within months.

Out goes the familiar and distinctive ‘pudding bowl’ shaped helmet worn by Britain’s soldiers for 20 years, and in comes a new shape more akin to today’s U.S. Army helmet, or the Second World War German design – offering improved neck movement and more space to fit a rifle sight to the eye.

The new colour scheme has nothing to do with fashion and everything to do with new high-tech fabric dyes which maintain camouflage properties when viewed through infra-red night sights, and combine traditional desert colours with pale green shades – suited to the semi-desert environments where many of today’s battles are fought.

Five years after the Daily Mail first exposed the Army’s notorious melting desert boots and shortages of basic equipment on the eve of the 2003 Iraq invasion, senior military commanders insist the situation has been transformed for the better.

The Treasury has spent £1billion a year on the ‘Urgent Operational Requirement’ programme – rushing new kit into service in Iraq and Afghanistan when existing equipment proves to be dangerously inadequate – delivering a range of new armoured vehicles, weapons and clothing.

While shortages remain, and commanders remain frustrated by the need for more protected vehicles and helicopters, frontline troops acknowledge the improvements in personal equipment.

The new infantryman’s kit is known as project PECOC – Personal Equipment Common Operating Clothing – and is in the final stages of assessment before being issued to troops deploying on combat operations.

Designers are struggling to save weight across the board, because of recent feedback from commanders in Afghanistan warning that today’s infanteer is being expected to carry too much weight, often approaching 150lb of weaponry, armour, ammunition, food and a host of gadgets – ‘like going to work carrying your wife on your back’ as one soldier described it.

In soaring summer temperatures of 50 degrees centigrade, foot patrols are having to be equipped with more quad bikes and trailers to take some of the burden, and to help evacuate wounded troops.

(Lto R) SA80 weapon and kit prior to 2003, the current attire and a soldier wearing a trial outfit

British Army gear through the ages: (Lto R) SA80 weapon and kit prior to 2003, the current attire and a soldier wearing a trial outfit

Major Richard Coomber of the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, requirements manager for the PECOC programme, said: ‘We have scoured the world for the best materials.

There is no magic secret to saving weight. We have to get the integration of all the different items right, starting with body armour plates which are thinner but tougher, and better designed to fit with webbing, packs, and weapons.

‘We spent a lot of time talking to troops who are using the existing equipment on operations.

‘The result is a system designed to fit together, and to be as flexible as possible, so the soldier can adapt it to the job he’s doing.’

The new clothing features removable padding inserts at the knees and elbows, and new ‘coral-coloured’ ballistic eye protectors, which give better colour perception than existing sunglasses.

The distinctive black-and-green Union Flag insignia offers better camouflage in daylight, but is also clearly identifiable through night-vision goggles, helping troops recognise each other during night battles.

Weaponry is constantly being upgraded, and the SA-80A2 assault rifle – which appears finally to have shaken off its unreliable reputation – is now fitted with an underslung grenade launcher and improved sights.

At a facility to show off the new kit on Salisbury Plain today Major General Bill Moore, Director General Logistic Support and Equipment for Land Forces, told the Mail that speed was the key to the Urgent Operational Requirement system.

He said: ‘In peacetime you can afford to spend five or ten years getting the reliability of your new tank just right, but in wartime we take a bit more risk with getting new equipment into service fast.

‘I think the next big thing for us is reducing weight for infantrymen, to make them more agile.

‘If we can make electrical batteries smaller and lighter, we will make progress.

‘We want to give the guys more options as to how much heavy protection they wear, depending on the threat and the task.’








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