The End of ACU?
Ugly sofas and sodium vapour lamps aside, operators overseas have lodged innumerable complaints about the effectiveness of UCP. While it is still in use in both the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Photosimulation Camouflage Detection Test conducted by the U.S. Army Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center has shown that it is hardly the optimal camo for the job.
To sum up the findings of the test, I'll quote one of the conclusive statements,
"2. If Army leadership desires, for any number of reasons, to maintain a single, multi-environment camouflage pattern for combat missions, then one must first consider all possible environments that a soldier can encounter during a mission set. For instance, in present day theaters, soldiers can manuever from desert mountainous terrain to oasis to urban terrain during a single mission.
MultiCam® provides a readily available alternative with good overall performance across all three environments.
a. It provides a significant reduction in target detectability in all three environments as compared to the UCP. MultiCam® performed better in the woodland environment than the Desert MARPAT and Desert Brush patterns, while those two patterns performed better in the desert environment than MultiCam®.
b. Specific woodland environment missions may still need to be supplemented with a woodland pattern."
As a result of this test and other factors, one U.S. battalion will be wearing a new pattern dubbed UCP Delta this fall, while another will be wearing Multicam.
Multicam pictured above.
UCP Delta pictured above (if it looks like UCP but with brown added, that's because that is exactly what it is).