Tactical Tailor

Archive for the ‘Camo’ Category

MDM 17 – DRIFIRE/Crye Precision Field Uniform in Woodland MARPAT

Thursday, September 21st, 2017

At Warrior West DRIFIRE officially unveiled their FR Field Uniform collaboration with Crye Precision. The initial model was in MultiCam, with additional patterns to come.

IMG_4339

ADS Inc featured this Woodland MARPAT version in their booth at this year’s Modern Day Marine.

IMG_4338

These Berry compliant uniforms are made with DRIFIRE’s durable and comfortable Fortrex fabric. It’s not only FR but also moisture wicking and includes odor control. They are offered in the full CP size range which is prefect for those who are running a uniform program. The uniforms are also available in MultiCam, Desert MARPAT, US Navy Types II and III (AOR 1 and 2) and NATO Woodland (that’s what we wore in the 80s and 90s for you whippersnappers).

DriFire products are available for unit and agency purchases through ADS Inc.

US Navy Announces NWU Type III Wear Rules and Distribution Plan

Monday, September 4th, 2017

Late last week, US Navy personnel received a welcome Labor Day gift with the publication of NAVADMIN 214/17, which updates the wear rules as well as the Fleet distribution plan for the Navy Working Uniform (NWU) Type III. The NAVADMIN also offers a list of approved boots Sailors can wear with the uniform.

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (Aug. 25, 2017) Lt. Cmdr. Jason Shell, left, executive officer of Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit (EODMU) 2, discusses operational procedures with Lt. j.g. Mike Peribonio as part of the Navywide operational pause at EODMU 2 headquarters on Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek. EODMU 2 provides credible, combat-ready EOD forces capable of deploying anywhere, anytime in support of national interests. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Charles Oki/Released) VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (Aug. 25, 2017) Lt. Cmdr. Jason Shell, left, executive officer of Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit (EODMU) 2, discusses operational procedures with Lt. j.g. Mike Peribonio as part of the Navywide operational pause at EODMU 2 headquarters on Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek. EODMU 2 provides credible, combat-ready EOD forces capable of deploying anywhere, anytime in support of national interests. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Charles Oki/Released)

As you’ll recall, the Navy announced plans to transition from the NWU Type I, commonly known as Blueberries due to its distinct blue camouflage pattern said to be designed to hide stains common to shipboard life. Instead, the Navy is adopting the Type III which utilizes a Woodland camouflage pattern originally developed for use by USSOCOM and adopted by Naval Special Warfare as the AOR 2 pattern. The Navy also has an NWU Type II for desert use (below, left), which features the AOR 1 pattern. The NWU Type II is only used for deployments to the CENTCOM Area of Operations.

IMG_3831

The 24-month Fleet fielding plan for the NWU Type III begins Oct. 1, 2017, and ends Sept. 30, 2019. However, the uniform is now available for purchase in Navy Exchange Uniform Centers at Newport, Rhode Island; Pearl Harbor, Hawaii; and at Navy installations in Europe, Africa and Southwest Asia.

Below is the Fleet distribution schedule for the NWU Type III:
* October 2017 – New accessions and Sailors assigned to commands at Recruit Training Command, Navy Officer Training Command and Navy Region Southwest
* January 2018 – Navy Region Southeast
* July 2018 – Navy Region Mid-Atlantic and Naval District Washington Region
* January 2019 – Navy Region Japan and Guam
* March 2019 – Navy Region Northwest
* June 2019 – NEXCOM uniform website and call center
* July 2019 – Other service exchange stores (i.e., Army and Air Force Exchange Service stores)

Naturally, manufacturing production rates could accelerate or delay uniform availability and would mean some adjustment to the implementation schedule. As it is, the Navy plans a relatively short transition period when both the NWU Type I and III will be authorized, with the Type III becoming the primary shore working uniform Oct. 1, 2019.

GULFPORT, Miss. (Aug. 13, 2013) Students fire M-4 carbines during a live-fire training exercise at the Center for Security Forces Learning Site. The course is designed to provide personnel with basic expeditionary combat skills training necessary to professionally and safely perform high-risk security operations when assigned to Navy Expeditionary Combat Commands. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Paul Coover/Released) GULFPORT, Miss. (Aug. 13, 2013) Students fire M-4 carbines during a live-fire training exercise at the Center for Security Forces Learning Site. The course is designed to provide personnel with basic expeditionary combat skills training necessary to professionally and safely perform high-risk security operations when assigned to Navy Expeditionary Combat Commands. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Paul Coover/Released)

An interesting stipulation during the transition period is that Sailors can wear either the NWU Type I or NWU Type III until September 30, 2019, at the discretion of the unit commander or commanding officer (CO). The problem with this idea is that new Sailors won’t have the Blueberries after October of this year. It’s going to be difficult to tell Sailors to wear a uniform they weren’t issued and may not be able to purchase from the NEX due to limited availability of sizes.

Like the NWU Type I, the Type III is intended for wear ashore, in port and in environments that do not require special clothing (e.g., at sea, forward deployed during combat operations, areas requiring flame resistant uniforms) and when authorized as the uniform of the day. The NWU Type III may also be worn at sea for special events at the discretion of the CO.

While the NWU Type III will be issued to new recruits in Boot Camp, Enlisted Sailors already in the fleet will be required to purchase their own with their annual clothing replacement allowance which will increase beginning Oct. 1, 2017, and continue to expand in fiscal years 2018 and 2019. By law, commissioned officers are entitled to a one-time uniform stipend ($400) paid at the beginning of their careers. They’ll be buying their own as well.

The Navy also offers a Coyote fleece jacket as well as Type III pattern APECS Parka and Trousers for wear in inclement weather. However, according to the NAVADMIN, the older Black fleece jacket will remain the standard for this evening in the fleet.

NORFOLK (July 25, 2017) Electronics Technician 1st Class Gary Holton inspects an M2HB machine gun before Coastal Riverine Squadron 4 goes on an evening training patrol. CRS-4 is currently conducting a training cycle in preparation for a future deployment. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Patrick Enright/Released) NORFOLK (July 25, 2017) Electronics Technician 1st Class Gary Holton inspects an M2HB machine gun before Coastal Riverine Squadron 4 goes on an evening training patrol. CRS-4 is currently conducting a training cycle in preparation for a future deployment. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Patrick Enright/Released)

Additionally, Commands currently wearing the NWU Type III are authorized to issue a Coyote Command Ballcap which can be worn in lieu of the eight-point cover.

Finally, the Navy announced that 350 Sailors assigned to afloat units and shore installations are taking part in a three-month boot wear test to identify a replacement for the current NWU boot that is issued to Sailors. The completion of the boot study is expected by the end of this year. Be sure to review the NAVADMIN for a full list of alternative boots, authorized for wear with the NWU Type III.

MAPA Camo Clothing Equipment To Be Displayed At MSPO

Monday, September 4th, 2017

IMG_3824

These are components of the “DROMADER” equipment system designed for Polish Territorial Army (Wojska Obrony Terytorialnej) that will be presented during MSPO trade show, this week in Kielce.

IMG_3821

MAPA camo has also been applied to ballistic plates and holsters.

IMG_3822

PGZ is Polska Grupa Zbrojeniowa, the largest Polish defence company, which is state owned and sponsors this project with the Territorials.

IMG_3823

AFCENT Updates Dress And Appearance Instruction; Does This Signal Changes Coming Air Force-Wide?

Friday, September 1st, 2017

AFCENT has published a major update to USAFCENTI-36-2903, “Dress and Appearance of AFCENT Air Force Personnel”. AFCENT is the air arm of US central Command and if there’s a part of the USAF that is at war 24/7, this is it. With even just a casual look at this Instruction, you can see that it is completely operationally focused, with no mention of dress uniforms. While we offer a summary of changes below, the biggest change is the guidance regarding wear of MultiCam/OCP uniforms.

The following uniforms are authorized as the Uniform of the Day (UOD) for Airmen assigned throughout AFCENT: the Airman Combat Uniform (ACU – previously referred to as multi-cam or OCP), the Fire Resistant-Airman Combat Uniform (FR-ACU), the Desert Flight Duty Uniform (DFDU), or the Airman Aircrew Combat Uniform (A2CU).

This is obviously great news for Middle-East-bound Airmen, but its timing makes us wonder if this is the first of a major uniform and camouflage change for the entire Air Force.

Based on conversations during base visits by CMSAF Kaleth O. Wright, like the one to Hurlburt seen above, rumors have been flying that the Air Force will soon announce a switch from the ill-named Airman Battle Uniform, in service since 2006, to the Army Combat Uniform and its Operational Camouflage Pattern.

According to USAFCENTI-36-2903, that uniform is now referred to as the Airman Combat Unifom when worn by Air Force personnel. While AFCENT has specified a wearout date for the legacy ABU of October 2018, that is only specific guidance for Airmen deploying to the CENTCOM AOR. If the USAF does in fact adopt the ACU, the wearout date across the service will most likely be in the 2020s. Likewise, AFCENT’s requirement that Airmen deploy in OCP uniforms only in 2018, may foreshadow an Air Force-wide change beginning the same year.


U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Ronnie Birge, mission crew commander assigned to the 7th Expeditionary Airborne Command and Control Squadron, studies his computer monitor during a mission aboard an E-8C Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System aircraft out of Al Udeid, Air Base, Qatar, July 27, 2017. The E-8C JSTARS aircraft and crew provide essential battle management, command and control, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities in support of Operations Inherent Resolve and Freedom’s Sentinel. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Bradly A. Schneider/Released)

Major Revisions to AFCENTI 36-2903:
– Expanded wear guidance of the Airman Combat Uniform (ACU), all variations, which were previously referred to as OCPs, Multicam, or Scorpion Pattern
– Clarified guidance for ACU wear of patches, badges and insignias
– Clarification on the prohibition to mix and match camouflage patterns
– Clarification of the wear of rings
– Standard Uniform Postures have been removed but may be addressed in local guidance
– Authorized AEW or AEG/CCs to dictate wear of Airman Combat Shirt (ACS) for those who work outdoors
– Authorized ball caps with ACUs
– Mandated wear of Commanders Insignia Pin

AFCENT will mandate AOR-wide wear of the ACU (non Fire Resistant version) in 2018 with further implementation timeline to follow.

I’ve been discussing the possibility of a major duty uniform change for the Air Force with fellow Veteran C Combs, and he shared his thoughts on this Instruction.

He notes that Air Force functional badges aren’t commonly available in OCP, and that such an undertaking certainly points to an Air Force-wide transition. In fact, the functional badge featured in the illustration in AFCENTI 36-2903 had to be digitally created.

IMG_3771

Additionally, he made mention of the return of Ball Caps which harken back to the Squadron ball caps of the 80s and 90s. Although, these certainly have a 21st century twist. Better make sure those are Berry compliant caps, AFCENT A4. That cap in the illustration looks suspiciously like it came from China.

Other Air Force personnel have noted the return of Unit insignia, a practice which went away with the adoption of the ABU. Between that and the retiring of unit ball caps there was little opportunity for personnel to show unit pride.

Airmen will also be allowed to wear earned FWSSI, or as more commonly known, combat patches on their new ACUs. Like the Army, they will also wear an American flag on the right sleeve of their uniform.

The Instruction also notes that “any ACU pattern uniform previously issued or acquired at no cost to the government should be worn by AFCENT personnel” which leaves plenty of room for unit issued uniforms by various manufacturers in MultiCam, as in the case of AFSOC and many Battlefield Airmen AFSCs. Let’s hope the AFI, when published, is as flexible.

Also, Sleeves may be cuffed up or folded under at the wrist. This is entirely too accommodating!

One issue did seem odd. While AFCENTI 36-2903 details which color thread can be used for insignia, they left out the color of thread for 1st LT, Capt, LT Col and Col, as well as the General Officer ranks. This color is probably the missing fourth color.

IMG_3772

Probably the best thing about this Instruction is that it drives the nail in the coffin of both the ABU and 8-point hat for wear by Airmen in a combat theater.

On a final note, it’s great to see that neither “blouse” nor “cover” were used in the Instruction. Thank you to the author(s).

Get your copy here.

British Army Challenger 2 Tanks In Berlin Brigade Camo

Wednesday, August 30th, 2017

The Royal Tank Regiment’s AJAX Squadron have just taken delivery of their latest tanks.

These have been specially painted in the Cold War-era Berlin Brigade urban camouflage scheme and will be used for UK training as part of an ongoing study into proving and improving the utility of Main Battle Tanks in the urban environment.

AJAX Sq are the urban specialists within the Regiment and will be looking to test current doctrine, tactics and procedures while experimenting with other techniques from across NATO and the rest of the world.

This composite image shows the three different Challenger 2 color schemes.

What’s Your Favorite OPFOR Uniform?

Wednesday, August 23rd, 2017

Over the years, the OPFOR (Opposing Forces), units which portray enemy forces, have worn a variety of uniforms. For example, there’s this classic look from the 50s and 60s, when the OPFOR were referred to as Circle Trigon forces.


The modified helmet liners were available to units through their local Training Aids Support Center.

At other times, permanent units at the National Training Center and Joint Readiness Training Center have worn various solid color and camouflague pattern uniforms, based on the types of adversarries they’ve depicted at the time.  Below you can see the JRTC uniform.


FORT POLK, LA — The colors of Easy Company are uncased at BRDM Field to activate a forward support company of the 1-509 Infantry. Lt. Col. Matthew Tackett and Command Sgt. Maj. Jason Young perform the solemn duties. Photo by Raymond Barnard, Operations Group, Joint Readiness Training Center. (Photo Credit: Raymond Barnard, Operations Group, Joint Readiness Training Center)

At NTC both Tan and 3-color Desert uniforms have been worn.


Although they wore Black BDUs for many years, currently, the OPFOR in Germany at the Joint Multinational Readiness Center are wearing All Terrain Tiger pattern from Tiger Stripe Products.


Soldiers return fire while conducting a town defense scenario during Saber Junction 17 at the Hohenfels Training Area, Germany, May 15, 2017. Saber Junction 17 is the U.S. Army Europe’s 2nd Cavalry Regiment’s combat training center certification exercise. It includes nearly 4,500 participants from 13 NATO and European partner nations. (US Army photo by SPC Gage Hull)

What uniforms do you remember, and what was your favorite?

MAPA Camo Pattern Under Consideration For Polish Territorial Defence Forces

Tuesday, August 22nd, 2017

We’ve received a report that the MAPA camouflage pattern we shared back in 2012 is under consideration for adoption by Poland’s Territorial Defence Forces under project code name EICHENLAUB / “LI?? D?BU”. Developed by Mr. Maciej Dojlitko, MAPA (“map” in Polish), the pattern matches the terrain and vegetation of Poland.





DoD Plans To Save $72 Million On Afghan Uniforms By Spending $100 Million For New Ones

Tuesday, August 1st, 2017

Last week, the Honorable John Sopko, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, testified before the House Armed Services Committee, concerning his organization's recent report on the Afghan National Army's proprietary camouflage pattern, licensed to Afghanistan by Canadian company Hyperstealth Biotechnology Corporation.  SIGAR maintains that the US government overspent on an untested and inappropriate camouflage pattern. Boy, does this story sound familiar. 

Of all the untold Billions of Dollars squandered on bad construction contracts and given away to Afghan warlords, SIGAR is fixated on what they have identified as $28 Million, they claim was overspent during a period of five years on camouflage uniforms for the Afghan National Army.  Furthermore, the SIGAR report, and Mr Sopko's testimony alleges that the situation will result in a further $72 Million in overspending over the next decade, if it's not changed.

The Department of Defense's  answer to the situation? Why, spend even more money of course. The plan is to direct the US Army's Natick Soldier Systems Center to conduct a camouflage study and completely recapitalize the entire ANA with new uniforms in a camouflage pattern owned by the US Army. SIGAR estimates that will save us about $72 million. While Mr Sopko has yet to disclose how much this scheme is going to actually cost, I did a back of the napkin estimate based on what was spent in the past. To replace their uniforms in a timely manner, will be excess of $100 Million; well in excess. When you do the math, that potential savings of $72 quickly becomes a $18 Million+ deficit.  Not to mention the disruption of the ANA, as a side effect. 

When this new camouflage pattern is finally pursued, no commercial patterns will be considered, lest the Army have to pay a royalty. The point here isn't to offer our Allies the best available camouflage, but rather the cheapest and no one is taking the interests of the Afghans into consideration in this unilateral action. Amazingly, the last time Natick conducted a camouflage study for Afghanistan, the US Army selected a commercially developed pattern developed by Crye Precision, called MultiCam, over the camouflage developed by Natick.

The Army later conducted a massive camouflage modernization effort under the direction of Natick. The results of the Phase IV Camouflage Improvement Effort have never been released to the public and the Army ultimately created and fielded an inferior version of Crye's MultiCam which they were already using, in order to save a buck or two. 

In addition to the known elements such as established supply chain costs associated with this action, there are Millions of Dollars in potential, additional costs to the American taxpayer and industry. For instance, we have no idea how much the Natick study will actually cost the taxpayer because the salaries of government employees and use of equipment and facilities are looked at as sunk costs by DoD rather than being properly tracked and accounted for. Furthermore, it will take time (and drive up costs) to develop a supply chain for a new pattern. Printers will have to "learn" how to print it.

Industry will also have surge to create a sufficient number of completely new camouflage uniforms to support the transition for the ANA.  This will result in an increased transportation burden costing an untold amount out of money.  Then there's the question of how much money was spent to conduct this investigation and produce this report.  It doesn't seem like the taxpayer is getting a lot of bang for its buck. 

Interestingly, Mr Sopko also informed the legislators that a criminal probe had been launched regarding the matter, which, short of evidence of malfeasance, begs the question, why? Considering the pallets of $100 bills handed off to fickle Afghan warlords over the past 16 years, we are going to criminally investigate something where we actually saw a return on investment? The ANA actually received uniforms which provides them a common identity as an element of Afghan national power. Additionally, the uniforms work at night, when the ANA operates, and are in a tightly controlled camouflage pattern which is difficult for the enemy to acquire.

If I were an acquisition or contracting officer who made things happen in spite of the plodding framework created by the DFAR at any point since the war began, I'd be very concerned about this precedent. Because, if they're going to take a look at the Afghan National Army's camouflage expenditure, they are bound to look at other fast-tracked acquisition programs. In fact, someone probably ought to take a hard look at what DoD was up to regarding uniforms, during the same period.

Lest I remind everyone, this is what our Soldiers were wearing during the same period the SIGAR report is concerned with. It's also a camouflage pattern that wasn't tested, and not only wasn't suitable for use in Afghanistan, but for anywhere else it turns out. What's more, it was developed by the same organization that SIGAR wants to developed the ANA's next pattern, Natick Soldier Systems Center. 

It gets worse. The US taxpayer spent untold Billions of Dollars on that US Army pattern. The Army admitted to $5 Billion expenditures in 2012, but they kept spending after that, and their number was based solely on program Dollars at DLA.  It's almost impossible to really capture how much was spent in local purchase, at the sister service level, and on UCP ancillary items for major end items.  The real number is closer to $10 Billion than five. If they want to launch a criminal investigation based on fraud, waste and abuse, UCP is a great place to start.

If SIGAR wanted to actually improve things for Afghanistan, they could make these recommendations:

1. Simplify and standardize the cut and construction of Afghan uniforms across the board.

2. Negotiate a better licensing fee with the owner of the ANA's camouflage.

3. Replace the Camo patterns of the other Afghan forces which are forced to continue to wear the same patterns as their enemies.

Points one and two would help bring down costs of the ANA uniform and point three would result in a safer and more effective Afghan security infrastructure.  

Mr Sopko's team at SIGAR has done some great work, but they need to do much better on this issue. Spending more money than is saved is not a win.  Instead, this is a big loss, both for the American taxpayer and our ally, Afghanistan.