The US Army will no longer use Universal Camouflage Pattern-based uniform, it's been announced. Much-heralded on its arrival in 2004, UCP hasn't been too effective in the majority of combat settings, so a replacement pattern is now expected to be introduced in coming months.
It is understood that the Universal Camouflage Pattern cost a staggering $5bn to develop but, ultimately, its pixelated green and grey shades don't offer the level of protection they should.
Consequently, US warfighters deployed in Afghanistan have recently been provided with another type of uniform - MultiCam. Introduced in February 2010, Crye Precision's MultiCam was found to be 21 per cent better at concealing than UCP after a series of intense trials. The remainder of troops, however, continue to wear the Universal Camouflage Pattern.
"Essentially, the Army designed a universal uniform that universally failed in every environment" an unnamed US Army representative told The Daily, adding: "The only time I have ever seen it work well was in a gravel pit."
Universal Camouflage Pattern
UCP's roots lie in the MARPAT camouflage the US Army co-developed with the US Marines in the early 2000s. The Universal Camouflage Pattern development programme really gained momentum after the start of the Iraqi and Afghan conflicts and work on it took place at the Natick, Massachusetts-based US Army Soldier Systems Center. However, according to a center representative, political agendas then took over.
Almost a decade later, the camouflage design is being withdrawn because it simply doesn't work against a multitude of backgrounds. "You've got to look back and say what a huge waste of money that was", Lawrence Holsworth, a camouflage expert, commented, adding: "UCP was such a fiasco."
US Army UCP
"I wouldn't characterize it as a 'fiasco", US Army Soldier Systems Center representative David Acetta stated in comments quoted by AOL Defense. "The UCP did have fairly good results in a number of different environments. It's not the best for all, but it is effective to a different degree in all different climates, environments, day and night light levels."
Armed Forces International will report further on the US Army's new choice of camouflage in future News coverage.