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Army selects new camo pattern

May. 23, 2014 - 06:00AM   |  
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A swatch of Scorpion camouflage. The Army is adopting a variation of this camo to replace the Universal Camouflage Pattern on ACUs. ()

The Army has decided on a new camo to replace the unpopular Universal Camouflage Pattern on your ACUs— and the selection is very similar to MultiCam.

Sources, on condition of anonymity, confirmed Friday that the service has selected Scorpion W2 as its next Army combat uniform camo, a pattern born out of Army Natick labs.

Numerous Army sources refused to comment on this story, expressing reluctance to get ahead of the service’s announcement on an issue that remains under intense Congressional scrutiny.

Military.com broke the news, reporting that Sgt. Major of the Army Raymond Chandler III has been briefing senior sergeants major throughout the Army about the new pattern for the Army Combat Uniform.

Known internally as Scorpion W2, a source said the pattern is likely to be announced under a different name.

Its color palette of muted greens, light beige and dark brown resembles MultiCam, the pattern used by soldiers deploying to Afghanistan. However, Scorpion W2 uses fewer beige and brown patches and none of the vertical twig and branch elements later added for MultiCam.

The new pattern will serve as the service’s primary camo pattern, but Army uniform leaders have said they envision a “family” of patterns with a dark jungle-woodland variant and a lighter pattern for desert environs. The main camouflage pattern would be worn in garrison, and the others would go to deploying troops.

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Natick derivedScorpion W2 from the original Scorpion pattern developed by Crye Precision, of Brooklyn, N.Y., MultiCam’s manufacturer. Crye officials did not respond to requests for comment.

Crye developed Scorpion under a government contract in 2002, and it was later used for Objective Force Warrior, a soldier systems development program, according to Guy Cramer, CEO of a competing camouflage developer, HyperStealth Biotechnology Corp., of British Columbia.

Cramer said while MultiCam and Scorpion may look similar, he believes MultiCam is better-performing.

The Scorpion W2, according to a source, was among the 22 patterns considered in 2010 when the Army began shopping for new combat uniforms. The Army narrowed that down to four finalists (Scorpion was not among them) and late last year it looked like leaders were nearing a deal with Crye to adopt MultiCam.

But then talks broke down over cost, according to Crye.

The Army’s options are somewhat limited. Congress, in the 2014 Defense Authorization Act, directed the Defense Department to rein in uniform spending and adopt a camouflage utility uniform or family of uniforms across all services. It has forced the Army to take a closer look at existing camouflage patterns — particularly those of its sister services, mainly the woodland and desert versions of the Navy and Marine Corps combat uniforms.

In March, an Army official confirmed the service could experiment with MultiCam colors if desired, noting a company can copyright a pattern but not a color palette.

Col. Robert Mortlock, the program manager for Soldier Protection and Individual Equipment, told Army Times at the time that the service examined camo beyond 50 meters and found that, while colors are important, the actual pattern is “not that relevant.”

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