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Latest Info On US Army Transition To Scorpion Camouflage Including Accessory Colors and Schedules

Monday, June 30th, 2014

This is the latest info shared with industry during a recent briefing. Everything is subject to change but most of it jives with what I have heard elsewhere.

-The Army selected a new camouflage pattern o/a 5 May 2014 as previously reported here on SSD.

-There is still no formal announcement from Army leadership but PEO Soldier and Natick are working very closely with industry to make this happen.

-Official, Berry Compliant, Scorpion W2 fabric is being printed. It is Scorpion W2 and not the W1 variant that everyone keeps searching for on the internet. I do not have photos of the pattern yet but a friend has seen it at the printers and describes it as similar to MultiCam but with very distinct differences. Attention Chinese printers attempting to flood the market with knockoff Scorpion fabric; you’re printing the wrong pattern!

-The ACU will continue to be the style of uniform. It will just have a new paint job but also incorporate modified sleeve pockets with zippers from the Army Combat Shirt. No other changes have been announced.

-Boots and gloves will be solid Coyote 498. No definitive word yet on t-shirts.

-Pulls such as loop and hook, thread, zippers and so on, will be Tan 499 as is currently used with MultiCam OCP. I still have no word on Scorpion printed webbing or hook and loop.

UPDATE

Tan 499 Chip from ITW Nexus Coyote Color Chip from ITW Nexus

These are Tan 499 (left) and Coyote (right) color chips from ITW which we first shared in 2010 when the Army had just adopted OCP and wanted to let you know what was going on.

-Currently, a tentative mandatory possession date for Scorpion clothing bag items is 3 years from the decision date. However, mandatory wearout/possession dates traditionally have fallen on Sep 30/Oct 1 to coincide with the fiscal year. No word yet on the wearout date for UCP or MultiCam/OCP. Despite assertions to the contrary by some, DLA continues to purchase items in MultiCam/OCP and the Army is fully aware that OCIE items in a modified UCP (Coyote overdye) as well as the MultiCam variant of OCP will remain in service for years to come.

-The goal is for clothing bag items in the new Scorpion W2 pattern to be available in 128 military clothing stores by May 1, 2015 and in clothing bag issues to new accessions starting Oct 1, 2015 at the 4 major Basic Training Central Issue Facilities. This is different than previous transitions to new patterns which saw issue to new accessions and their Drill Sergeants first with slightly delayed availability to the rest of the force.

-The Army is working closely with DLA Troop Support to only procure fill in sizes of ACUs in UCP. They have to continue to purchase them so long as they continue to issue them to new accessions in the clothing bag. This is one reason that making Scorpion W2 available first to the existing force through the Clothing Sales Stores makes little sense. The sooner they transition Basic Trainees to Scorpion, the sooner they can stop purchasing UCP. This plan would waste taxpayer dollars by purchasing unneeded uniforms that do not perform.

-The Army anticipates that at least 1/2 of its Soldiers will possess Scorpion ACUs within the first year. They are also anticipating a run on the clothing sales stores and are working hard to create a sufficient stock.

-Planners have prioritized clothing and equipment into 4 tiers. Tier 1 is everything that goes into the clothing bag and these are the main priority as the Army wants these available at Clothing Sales by May 1, 2015. Tier 2 includes all combat clothing items that have been purchased through RFI. Tier 3 and 4 products such as sleeping bags are considered less critical items.

-A large amount of money is planned for the transition (I am told up to $370 million) starting 1Q FY 2015. The Army plans to acquire Scorpion print equipment in one of two ways. First, they plan to modify current DLA Troop Support contracts that have approximately 2 or more option years remaining. On other items, Natick will issue new contracts, especially for those items that have traditional long lead times through DLA Troop Support.

-The primary means of transitioning from MultiCam OCP to Scorpion for TA50 will be through RFI/Deployer Equipment Bundles. MultiCam and UCP kit will remain in some parts of the force for some time to come. Yes, expect some mixing of patterns with OCIE for the near term. It’s going to happen. Hopefully, it won’t be uniform coats and trousers.

-The Army has currently contracted 5 printers with each concentrating on a different type of material such as NYCO, Cordura, FR, etc. Already, 1,500 to 2,000 yards of NYCO and Cordura have been printed. That is but a drop in the bucket. The long pole in this tent is getting the materials to pass the shading process and then to get different printers to learn how to do more than one substrate (type of material). Each type of material or substrate absorbs dye differently and the adoption of multiple patterns by DoD over the past 10 years has taught us that this process isn’t easy for companies to perfect. Specialists at Natick must examine fabric samples from each run and ensure that they meet quality standards for color and print. The Army desires to add additional printers but the bench is only so deep and the their missteps regarding a camouflage path forward and subsequent curtailing of purchases of combat clothing and equipment have sent the supply chain into disarray. Several years ago, shading process issues with USAF Digital Tigerstripe almost ran one company out of business. Some companies may not recover.

-There is no word on whether Scorpion W2 will be an unrestricted pattern meaning it could be printed and sold commercially. Based on some legal issues, Scorpion W2 may well not be available for use by manufacturers for commercial use or for outside of program buys. If it is not, no commercial products in Scorpion W2 will be available. The Army will have to decide whether it will allow Soldiers to use commercial products such as day packs in MultiCam. The patterns are similar in nature and use similar colors but they are not exact.

-Air Force deployers: You get your clothing and equipment from the Army’s stocks. You’ll get what the Army is issuing, when it issues it. This may be MultiCam OCP or Scorpion OCP.

Mechanix Wear – MultiCam Gloves Now Available

Wednesday, June 25th, 2014

Mechanix_MultiCam

Mechanix Wear is now offering MultiCam gloves. Currently, the popular Fastfit, Original, and M-Pact model gloves are available in MultiCam. A friend of ours recently got a hold of the MultiCam Fastfit and Original gloves and sent us photos which can be viewed below.

MultiCam Mechanix

Original

Fastfit

The Mechanix Multcam line is currently available online and in stores.

www.mechanix.com/multicam

New AMCU General Purpose Jacket Spotted

Wednesday, June 25th, 2014

Australian Camo Jacket

One of our readers pointed out to us that the latest issue of the Australian Army News features the new General Purpose Jacket in AMCU camouflage. That one that folks said wasn’t going to happen when we posted a sneak peek.

You can check out the whole thing here: www.defence.gov.au/news/armynews/editions/1330/1330.pdf

TWN Industries Releases Tiger Stripe Products ATT Water Transfer Printing Film

Tuesday, June 24th, 2014

Princeton, Florida – June 24, 2014 – TWN Industries, Inc., the leading water transfer printing film developer and equipment supplier, has joined forces with Tiger Stripe Products to release the anxiously awaited All Terrain Tiger™ hydrographic film pattern. ATT™ is a complete re-design of TSP’s classic Tiger Stripe pattern. This outstanding design provides the optimum combination of contrasting shapes and coloration’s to effectively disguise a person’s silhouette, resulting in maximum concealment within a wide variety of environments. Any Military, Government Agency, Law Enforcement Department, or Professional Security Force can now deliver an extremely high- level of camouflage effectiveness to its personnel with this outstanding new Tiger Stripe camouflage design. The pattern has also gained tremendous popularity among hunters and Airsoft /paintball players.

WTP-716 Tiger Stripe-All Terrain Tiger

“We worked very closely with Tiger Stripe Products for the past year in order to achieve an accurate depiction of the All Terrain Tiger™ pattern. Our team is extremely satisfied with the outcome and feel confident that fans of previous Tiger Stripe patterns will feel the same,” stated Mike Richards, Director of Business Development at TWN Industries.

Tiger Stripe Products® All Terrain Tiger™ water transfer printing film is available exclusively through TWN Industries, Inc. Three-meter accessory packs are available immediately. The part number for All Terrain Tiger™ is WTP 716. To find a TWN Certified Decorator who can decorate products for you, or to purchase film, call 305-258-9622.

www.watertransferprinting.com/news/all-terrain-tiger-hydrographic-film

Side By Side Look At Australian Camo

Tuesday, June 24th, 2014

This photo depicts (top to bottom) the new Australian MultiCam Uniform print, Crye Precision MultiCam and the old Disruptive Pattern Combat Uniform print dating from the 80s.

Australian Camo

It’s a good depiction of how AMCU is a hybrid which uses the Australian MultiCam Print pattern geometry developed by Crye Precision but integrates some of the more traditional DPP/DPCU colors.

What Do You Do With Billions Of Dollars Worth of UCP TA-50? Why You Dye It, Of Course

Monday, June 23rd, 2014

When the Army began its quest to identify a new camouflage pattern several years ago it also realized that it was going to have to do something with the several Billion Dollars worth of Organizational Clothing and Individual Equipment in the Universal Camouflage Pattern, already in its inventory. By PM SPIE, COL Robert Mortlock’s own assertion, the Army plans on an eight year period to fully transition from the current patterns to the new one. That UCP gear is going to be with some units, particularly TDA-based, for years to come.

Last week, the Army issued a Sources Sought Notice to industry on behalf of Project Manager Soldier Protection and Individual Equipment (PM-SPIE), Program Executive Office (PEO) Soldier seeking a Overdying Process for Fabrics and Other Items.

OVERDYE

This isn’t the first time we’ve written about this and it isn’t the first time PEO Soldier has looked into the solution. Just last Fall they issued a similar Sources Sought but cancelled it in late November. To me, what the reissue of this notice signals is that the Army is finally moving forward with a transition plan. Although, they are stumbling through a couple of issues right now that should have been anticipated before the leadership selected a course of action.

In particular, they are seeking:

Project (sic) Manager Soldier Protection and Individual Equipment (PM-SPIE), Program Executive Office (PEO) Soldier, Fort Belvoir, VA 22060 is seeking information from potential industry partners who can provide a technology/process solution to modify the camouflage pattern utilized in the manufacture of current individual Soldier equipment. This development effort is aimed at over-dyeing fabric and/or end items comprised of nylon (500/1000 denier), cotton, FR rayon, and para-aramid of various fabric constructions. Specific items include but are not limited to Modular Lightweight Load carrying Equipment (MOLLE) and Improved Outer Tactical Vests (IOTV). Items requiring an over-dye process may have been treated with water repellants such as DWR, polyurethane, as well as flame resistant treatments, and may be comprised of fabrics of various fiber types and fabric constructions. The objective of this process is to over-dye the Universal Camouflage Pattern (UCP) to create a darker color that more closely matches the shade/color of coyote brown. Of particular interest are portable technologies that can be utilized outside of the manufacturing environment.

I was told long ago that a solution had been identified, but it’s always good to see if industry has come up with anything new. Also, did you notice that they are interested in a solution that closely resembles Coyote Brown? The big challenge here is getting everything dyed to a common shade. With different wear and substrates, dying is as much art as science. As it is, getting the same production run or the same material, dyed to the same shade is a challenge because Cordura, webbing, NYCO, FR rayon, and para-aramid all absorb dyes differently and the concentration of dye is as much an issue as the wear to the fabric’s fibers. And that’s not to mention previous treatments which may also affect the absorption of dye. Consequently, the kit may end up looking like various shades of this:

20131124-231905.jpg

NFM Group – EC Paint

Thursday, June 19th, 2014

Norway-based NFM Group has come up with EC Paint, a weapon and equipment paint designed to fit both daylight and IR needs. EC paint dries in seconds, covering equipment with a smooth matte coating and no shiny spots. It is also durable and heat resistant without affecting the material structure, and can be used for covering plastics and textiles. NFM states that EC Paint is NVG compliant. This is pretty cool considering we’ve all been using krypton for years now and it wasn’t really designed for use on military equipment.

EC Paint is available in 8 colors: Grey, White, Black, Coyote Brown, Forest Green, Olive Drab, Mud Brown, and Sand. A dedicated stripper has also been developed for the paint, which they say provides easy and fast clean off. EC paint comes in 400ml spray cans and a 5 liter container for vehicle application.

EC Paint has been selected by the British Army to respray all weapons systems for issue in Afghanistan. Hint-hint, US Army.

www.nfm.no

Video concept by www.designedtofight.com.

Patagonia – Capilene Woodland T-Shirt

Tuesday, June 17th, 2014

20140617-100512.jpg

Patagonia’s Capilene series consists of synthetic baselayers. Made from moisture-wicking polyester that is composed of at least 35% recycled material, Capilene is designed to be quick to wick and quick to dry, has bluesign approval, and uses Polygiene technology for odor control in the garment.

The above shirt is a Capilene 1 baselayer. Featuring Patagonia’s woodland pattern called ‘Camoscape: Alpha Green’, it provides 50+ UPF sun protection and a cool, drying airflow. When paired with another layer, it wicks moisture and adds warmth.

www.patagonia.com

Grey Ghost Gear – Whole Lotta Kryptek

Wednesday, June 4th, 2014

aab6fd12-8e61-4474-a241-2a0e19ee9ff7

Owing to the increased popularity of Kryptek, Grey Ghost Gear is now, in their own words, “carrying damn near an entire loadout of gear in Kryptek patterns.” Popular items such as the Minimalist Plate Carrier can be ordered in Highlander and Mandrake, and Stealth Operator Pack in Highlander, Typhon, Mandrake, and Yeti. Other items, such as ammo pouches, accessory pouches, and even sunglasses can be purchased in Kyrptek patterns.

Grey Ghost Kryptek

www.greyghostgear.com

Awesome Deal on Smith Elite Lockwoods in Kryptek from Tactical Distributors

Friday, May 30th, 2014

Kryptek Lockwood

Every time I wear my Kryptek Highlander Lockwood eyepro by Smith Elite, people ask me where I got them. Considering they were a limited run item I’d say that this daily deal from Tactical Distributors is one to jump on. They feature a mil-spec Brown polarized lens and good looks.

www.tacticaldistributors.com/lockwood-kryptek-highlander-polarized