US Army to use MultiCam in Afghanistan

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Solider Systems reports

LTC Cummings of the Army Public Affairs Office has confirmed that the Secretary of the Army, the Honorable John McHugh approved a plan today to begin the fielding of MultiCam uniforms and individual equipment as soon as possible

MultiCam in Afghanistan’s Kunar province, Feb. 6, 2010. (Thanks to Lance for the pic)
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Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


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  • Destroyer

    I am grateful that our soldiers will finally be equipped with an effective camouflage for combat. How the UCP (ACU pattern) beat multicam i will never know in a million years! Luckily for the Army, many textiles have produced multicam fabric and equipment since approximately 2006 (for the future soldier demonstration and SOCOM), so transition should be relatively convenient and painless. I personally believe that the Bulldog Mirage pattern is superior to multicam and UCP-D (ACU with coyote brown), though multicam is more economically feasible i suppose. My honest opinion: make all branches of the military adopt multicam (army, navy, USMC, air force, and coast guard).

  • SpudGun

    I think it’s a good choice, I’ve never liked the traditional ACU which looks to my eye like artic warfare camo.

    Still, seems a bit late in the day to be making such a sweeping change out in gear. Oh well, it’s only tax dollars.

  • http://www.milgeek.co.uk Milgeek

    With the British Army adopting Multicam as well does that mean *we* (UK/USA) will be finally converging on a joint BDU?

    ….Finally it has happend – the British Army will be a division of the US Army! LOL

    ;)

    • http://www.thefirearmblog.com Steve

      Milgeek, it happened during WWII didn’t it ;)

  • Jusuchin

    Interesting. I thought the ACU had its ups and downs. I mean, I didn’t go to combat with it or anything, just a few semesters with my university’s ROTC program. Although at times, we stood out like a sore thumb against trees and brush during force on force paintball, so I guess exploring new options might be a beneficial route.

  • Matt Groom

    I like it better than the USMC’s MarPat.

  • David

    Guess I’ll have to start looking for camouflage duct tape in multicam.

  • Lance

    Its good move ACUs sucked in the cammo department grey isnt a outside color! Too bad its only for troops in Afghanistain I hoped it could go Army wide but I very much doubt that since ACU is still being produced and feilded all over the place.

  • Overload in CO

    I remember reading back when the Army adapted the digital camo that they wanted to use a ‘free’ camouflage, while basically admitting that MultiCam was better.

  • Destroyer

    Phase IV “At a date to be determined, the Army will establish and evaluate a long-term plan for ACU camouflage. If a new pattern is selected, even for limited use in Afghanistan, it may very well promulgate throughout the Army if it is demonstrates improved camouflage traits…”

    Your hopes (and mine) might be a reality Lance. There’s only two times ive seen ACU work really well. 1.) sage brush terrain during the spring/early summer 2.) snowy terrain. The UCP is a abysmal failure that was concocted from the deepest cesspool of RAMF bureaucracy.

    Yes I also read somewhere that the British Army is adopting their version of Multicam. Currently, there are few countries and elite units using it. Poland’s GROM, SAS units of Britain and New Zealand, Netherlands Special Forces, Montenegro, and assorted american law enforcement agencies. I saw a interesting photo on militaryphotos.com of a Chechen volunteer attached to the Vympel Spetsnaz wearing a multicam uniform. Seems to be the rage these days with damned airsofters as well (beware of imitators if you want to buy your own gear or camo set!!!).

  • Lance

    I still pefer MARPAT over this but this Multi cam is worlds better than ACU.

  • Etienne

    Milgeek, the Brit’s are adopting a variation on their DPM, with the colors of Multicam, as part of PECOC. So while they will share colors, the uniforms will be different.

    As for the Army replacing UCP in Afganistan – I say good work for finally getting those troops something that works, though the Army’s own testing showed Multicam to be more effective before adopting UCP in the first place, so the only real surprise is that someone had the persistence to convince the Pentagon to issue the better kit, instead of the ‘good-enough’ gear.

  • http://www.milgeek.co.uk Milgeek

    Quote: Steve – Milgeek, it happened during WWII didn’t it ;)

    LOL – why I outa…!

    I’m afraid what people here in the UK don’t understand is that in large scale multinational operations/campaigns that someone has to take charge…

    The futile wrangling between Monty and Patton shows the negative side of not understanding this – Eike’s command of the later part of the war in Europe, and his mastery of military politics by having Brits in high places in his command showed how things should be done (and I say that as a Brit).

    Back on subject – I think the convergence in using Multicam camo simply shows similar good sense, Multicam seems to be the ideal camo for Afghanistan – with it’s various temperate zones – and people are just accepting that fact and doing teh logical thing and adopting it.

    By the way I should point out that while I say the British Army is adopting Multicam – MTP – it is actually a slight variant of it, a fact that is explained better than I can in this excellent article on Dominic Hyde’s blog:

    http://domhyde.wordpress.com/2009/12/20/multi-terrain-pattern-camouflage-for-british-armed-forces/

  • Vtoroy Ruchey

    Each type of camouflage designed for a particular climate zone. MultiCam excellent camouflage important only to use it wisely.
    http://img707.imageshack.us/img707/747/multicam1.jpg
    Here for more:
    http://www.camotest.de/gallery/advanced_search_result.php?keywords=Multicam&x=0&y=0
    P.S. Sorry for my English… I am Russian :-)

    • http://www.thefirearmblog.com Steve

      Vtoroy, your english is perfect, welcome to The Firearm Blog. More Russians reading the blog the better it will be (not enough Russian reading the blog at the moment).

  • Kurgen99

    I’ve had some of the Crye Mutlticam field pants for a couple of years. They are incredibly well made and durable. I almost wish I had got them in khaki so I could wear them more often.

  • Vtoroy Ruchey

    Thank you very much, Steve!

  • AK™

    @Milgeek. as long as we don’t adopt the SA80 series of rifles,welcome to the club ;)

    imo ANYTHING looks better than ACU.

  • Destroyer

    vtoroy, russians should be a welcome addition to any camouflage article because they have a better understanding than anybody when it comes to effective camo.

    I never understood everybody’s obsession with “green camo”. The reason i say this is because look at animals. the only green animals are ones that spend their time in the treeline (like birds or small reptiles), all mammals and land borne animals are colored with a mix of browns, black, stripes, and tan colors (such as deer, elk, etc.). If humans wanted effective camouflage, then why wouldn’t they wear a brown mix??? the most effective personal camouflage (like bulldog mirage, desert brush, and multicam) seems to be earthy/dry brush colored, not green and certainly not grey.

  • http://www.milgeek.co.uk Milgeek

    Quote: AK – “@Milgeek. as long as we don’t adopt the SA80 series of rifles,welcome to the club ;)

    imo ANYTHING looks better than ACU.”

    :D — SA80? Would we do that to you? This is another can of worms for another time!

    We Brits never really understood the whole ACU thing. A camouflage that was supposed to be suitable *anywhere* which turned out to be suitable *nowhere*!

    The point I keep coming back to in my mind is the importance given – by departments of defence committees – to the ‘corporate identity’ aspect of modern camouflage uniforms…

    The US Army made a lot of this issue – that they, in effect, are returning to the very old idea that the professionalism and reputation of an army is portrayed by the uniform it wears…

    So ironically, while teh roll of camoflague is to *conceel* a soldier, part of teh reason ACU was chosen was that it makes US soldiers easy to identify to teh enemy!!!!

    …….I will *never* understand the military mind! :)

    (Does anyone?)

  • Lance

    Hay Olive Drab worked very well in WW2 and Korea. The oringal woodland worked as well I dont know why someone thought grey would look good in a tree line? Marpat was ok but i still dont think it was worth getting ride of BDUs the multicam isnt perfect but better than grey.

  • Vtoroy Ruchey

    You’re right Destroyer, excellent example.Thank you!

  • Destroyer

    many people don’t think of disruptive pattern uniforms as important, which they would be dead wrong. During WWII, the german army reported 15-46% fewer casualties because of the employment of disruptive pattern uniforms versus solid color patterns. They aren’t intended to make you invisible, they are intended to buy you (a soldier) enough time to delay your enemy’s target acquisition on you. On the battlefield, seconds count and good camouflage can provide a unique advantage over your enemy.

    Interestingly enough, it took the US military until the closing stages of Vietnam (1970′s) to finally learn the effectiveness of disruptive pattern camouflage when its counterpart, the Soviet Army, employed camouflage in 1938 for specialized reconnaissance and sapper units. The Soviets were the first to field digital camouflage back in 1944! Which absolutely blows my mind. (http://www.kamouflage.net/camouflage/00070.php) Take into consideration that only elite units received such uniforms though it is a important historical footnote. I find it interesting that their new uniform is reverting back to a digital pattern also (which seems quite effective at 100m camouflage compared to NATO patterns), though they are likely to continue employing 10 different patterns to suit Russia’s diverse terrain.

    What is the most suitable camouflage pattern? that really depends. I have never bought into the universal camouflage pattern concept, though i have to say multicam is the most effective pattern for what the US Army needs. Sure everybody is coming out with their own new patterns (like the excellent bulldog mirage, V-tac, and roggenwolf), though the multicam pattern is the most feasible cost and production wise. It is my understanding that others love the OD green and BDU patterns, though times change, new technology is available, and those uniforms are obsolete now.

  • Destroyer

    *correction, not v-tac but ATAC camo

  • Lance

    Strange ODs did do much better than German grey in WW2 anf dI think ODs where just fine.

  • Destroyer

    germany deployed a better green than OD that was darker in color. Regardless of what is seen in the movies, the fact is that auxiliary units and officers wore the so commonly seen mouse grey color. A overwhelming majority of regular combat troops wore “reed green”. In Africa, they wore khaki/tan.

    US troops in vietnam and Soviet troops in afghanistan would disagree that solid colors were fine. Anybody that looks at camouflage comparisons knows the difference disruptive patterns make (especially canada, which adopted the splendid CADPAT to replace their OD green uniforms).

  • Vtoroy Ruchey

    In our country, for example, many people have no idea about the camouflage applied parts of the Soviet army during World War II. And greatly surprised when they see photos of those years, with the men in camouflage clothing http://img710.imageshack.us/img710/4199/russianswarriorsww2.jpg Destroyer, you have good knowledge of the history, and history of camouflage. If а talk about modern (U.S.) camouflage, then I like the MultiCam. Migare and A -TACS looks awesome…By the way, some people in Russia (military, hunters) good praised CADPAT: http://img28.imageshack.us/img28/3936/cadpat2.jpg or http://img528.imageshack.us/img528/2741/cadpat.jpg MARPAT (Digital Woodland) – is good, modern Russian camouflage not bad too :-)))
    Soviet camouflage (WW 2):
    http://img14.imageshack.us/img14/9295/colorag.jpg

  • Lance

    Sorry but only SS troops wore camo untill late 43. While rain camo/splinter worked well some others like fletcher didnt.

    OD worked well in the pacific and most troops in europe didnt like some planes to get a US como patern since it incresed friendly fire incidents.

    Agree to disagree destroyer but we can agree multicam is worlds better than ACU grey.

  • Lance

    Some of those Soviet troopes where useing captured German jackets and coats.

  • Destroyer

    With the link that i have provided, it proves that the Soviets have deployed disruptive camouflage patterns since 1938…of course, they captured uniforms from the waffen SS, but they also mostly used their own domestic patterns because this increased friendly fire incidents. Note that flektarn camouflage patterns were extremely effective at close ranges at 50 meters, especially the autumn patterns. The statistics in the reduction of casualties speak for themselves.

    US Marines overwhelming employed their own disruptive pattern camouflage during the pacific theatrer http://www.kamouflage.net/camouflage/00111.php the US army deployed khaki and olive drab colors. It is true that they preferred to stay away from disruptive pattern materials because the Germans employed them and it led to friendly fire incidents.

    Of course only the SS troopers wore disruptive patterns until 1943…But the fact is that the german army employed “reed green” or a green solid color uniform throughout theaters of operation. Officers and second line troops wore mouse grey and panzer crewmen wore black.

    Vtoroy, you are absolutely correct. Soviet and Russian camouflage patterns are actually the most superior, even when compared to western and digital camouflage. I think the most effective is the VSR camouflage but that is my opinion. The Russians tend to focus on functional, camouflaging uniforms instead of patterns that look pretty and nice in the office. Your link about Soviet camouflage speaks for itself.

  • Andrew

    Anyone know about the USAF? In the past two copies of the Air Force magazine, I have noticed multiple pictures of airmen wearing multicam. One of a practice HALO jump, multiple shots of various duties being carried out in Haiti, with Airmen in some pictures wearing multicam (one even wearing the “shirt” that is designed to wear a vest over), and one of ANG airmen testing gear, while wearing multicam.

  • Lance

    The air men where part of SOCOM which uses multicam camo already. I waish the horribel ABU dies fast like the ACU will.

  • HAWKE

    im a big fan of the ACU, the Multicam i admit is a good choice for the woods but for thos who have been to afghanistan they’ll know that ya its got green but it also has alot of sand and rocks (rocks are not green!!) for those who havent seen pics of US soldiers in afghanistan , go ahead and search you’ll see that ACU does a very good job , in blending for desert and i would say afghanistan terrain, to me i dont like Multicam as a standard unform of the army i mean look at the soldiers in multicam the look like they’re goin on a hike , the boots are not even military boots , they are boots you but at the mall for hiking trips, u see what im sayin , a soldier doesnt look like a soldier anymore, but thats my opinion ..

  • D

    “im a big fan of the ACU, the Multicam i admit is a good choice for the woods but for thos who have been to afghanistan they’ll know that ya its got green but it also has alot of sand and rocks (rocks are not green!!)”

    Anybody who has worn multicam in theater will know which pattern is better. Any combat soldier that has deployed in combat operations will have a opinion that contradicts yours.

    “for those who havent seen pics of US soldiers in afghanistan , go ahead and search you’ll see that ACU does a very good job , in blending for desert and i would say afghanistan terrain”

    IF ACU is doing such a wonderful job, then why aren’t special forces troops and SOCOM wearing the pattern? they spend more time outside the wire than anybody else. The UCP is terrible in afghanistan. Its greyish-green colors camouflage poorly in arid regions and green valleys in afghanistan. The quality of uniforms is also poor, as they tear easily, especially after becoming wet and dirty. Grey was phased out of military forces after World War I because it was found that green and brown works better. How did the army take a step back after a century of camouflage research? ignorance.

    “to me i dont like Multicam as a standard unform of the army i mean look at the soldiers in multicam the look like they’re goin on a hike , the boots are not even military boots , they are boots you but at the mall for hiking trips”

    and this is the very frame of mind that leads to failures on the combat zone…when it matters the most. What looks pretty in garrison is utterly useless when one has to track down determined taliban fighters in one of the most inhospitable regions on earth. Your opinion is shortsighted to say the least.

    “u see what im sayin , a soldier doesnt look like a soldier anymore, but thats my opinion .”

    I would rather a soldier look like a hiker with loose, comfortable, warm clothing and civilian hiking boots if he can defeat any enemy on the planet than a soldier dressed in a “cool-looking” uniform but is utterly useless in combat. When you are in a firefight with opposing forces 0-1000 meters between one another, the last thing enemies care about is what kind of footwear or jacket you are wearing. Anybody who has hiked through afghanistan carrying a full battle load will attest that one cannot chase taliban with spit shined black leather boots. If civilian-looking hiking boots allow me to march day and night in any weather versus pretty military ones, guess which ones im wearing…