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?


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11 responses

15 09 2009
15 09 2009
The Universal Camouflage Conundrum | ITS Tactical

[…] PenCott Blog / Dominic Hyde […]

17 09 2009
Jason

UCP Delta is slightly less horrible (or maybe just as, I can’t decide) as regular UCP. I’ve seen Multicam used in Afghanistan and it just works better, period. Unfortunately I foresee the Army picking UCP Delta because it’s their own brain child and kicking Multicam to the side because it’s an “outsider.”

23 09 2009
Allan

Well at least it is an improvement over the old UCP!

23 09 2009
Allan

Would have been better to lose some of the grey rather than the sand though.

23 09 2009
r1p_c0rd

the UCP pattern seems to be nothing more than a macro element, it has always struck me a looking like an interesting idea that never got finished, obviously lacking any colour out of fear of making it specific to a particular environment.

the concept reminds me of zebra markings, a zebra is a social animal that has evolved its camouflage based on the idea that it will only ever be observed set against the background of other zebras so there was no need to develop any kind of colour scheme. it just need to disrupt it’s outline to make it’s own shape indistiguishable from the collective.

the only time that UCP is effective is when it is worn by someone standing against the backdrop of an entire regiment wearing UCP…

23 09 2009
r1p_c0rd

(continued from above…)

adding any kind of subtle tone of Tan and or green can do nothing but improve the design, like adding a small amount of almost any kind of ingredient will only improve the taste of water… or put it this way: short of changing the UCP hue to bright ink, you couldn’t really make the design any worse…

23 09 2009
r1p_c0rd

(can’t edit the above…) thats “bright pink”, sorry…

20 10 2009
Adam

The image displayed here is not even close. The new pattern is developed and will be presented very soon. Be patient its some really cool stuff.

18 11 2009
what??

What do you mean? That image displayed here is from the official US Army website and Army Times website.

22 02 2010
multicam makes the cut in the dirtbox « The Camo Side of Dominic Hyde

[…] Universal Camouflage Pattern (UCP) and effectively ending trials of a recoloured derivative, UCP-D, that attempted to resolve some of the concealment issues around UCP by adding a fourth, earth […]

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