Army chooses New (Old) Camouflage Pattern

Looks like the Army has chosen a new camouflage pattern to replace the much maligned and disliked UCP (Universal Camouflage Pattern). Well at least they have unofficially chosen one – “Scorpion”.

It took the Army about two years of testing to discover that their current issue UCP camo just isn’t up to snuff. During testing that ended in 2009 it was found that the camo performed miserably when compared to the Marine’s digital camo and the ever popular Multi-cam.

camouflage rating1

And believe it or not it seems that the Army has been trying to find a replacement ever since. Just last week the Army announced that it would field a “family” of camouflage patterns – A dark woodland pattern, a light desert pattern and one in between. But so far no official word yet, other than there were still more tests to go.

They have some pretty interesting digital patterns to choose from. Marine digital MARPAT (Marine Pattern – Desert and Woodland) was one of their top choices and from the people that I have talked to, it works very well in the field.

They also liked Multicam, but it seems that the costs to field it would be to high.

Though not mentioned, I am curious how the new “organic” digital patterns from A-TACS would have fared on the test. The A-TACS FG woodland camo is amazing:

a-tacs camo

I also noticed that they tested Syrian, French and Iraqi patterns but somehow German Flecktarn didn’t even make the list. It works extremely well in dark woodland environments:

flecktarn

So what did they choose?

Well, according to Military.com, the Sergeant Major of the Army is telling all the senior Sergeants that the Army will be transitioning to the “Scorpion” pattern.

What is Scorpion?

Believe it or not it is a pattern that the Army has already owned for 12 years and looks very similar to, drum roll please…

Multicam!

scorpion

Apparently it was created by Crye (the creator of Multicam) for the OFW program, but uses a slightly different pattern. In doing so, one could assume that the pattern would test out very similar to Multicam.

So there you have it, several years of testing and it looks like the Army is going to use a pattern that they already own!

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Military using 3D Printing at Army Bases in Afghanistan

Imagine being at a remote military base and a critical piece of equipment breaks. Or needing a new piece of equipment for a job but prototyping and having it shipped over from the States would take months. What would you do?

How about just print what you need?

The army is using new 3D printers labs at remote bases in Afghanistan to create replacement parts or rapid prototype entirely new ones. The technology is like the Replicators in Star Trek according to a Foxnews article.

The labs contain 3D printers, CNC mills laser & water based cutters and are contained in a 20 foot container that can be placed where needed. The video above from US RDECOM shows some of the technology available in the units at work.

Having worked at a super precision machine shop I am impressed with the selection of devices. The prototyping can be created using CAD and then printed on the 3D printers. This usually creates plastic type products. Then if the tool works as needed, it can then be sent to the CNC mills and cutters to make a much more durable version made out of metal.

The Army currently has two of these labs in service with another one coming soon.  Giving our troops the ability to make what they need on the fly, what a great idea!

(For more information on the printer used in the video above check out the Objet Connex webpage)