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):
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?