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The Official Color Palette for OCP

Tuesday, September 9th, 2014

Colors

According to the latest version of MIL-DTL-44436B which is used by DLA to guide industry, these are the official colors of Operational Camouflage Pattern:

Class 9 and 10, Operation Enduring Freedom Camouflage Pattern (OCP). The cloth(s) shall be dyed to a ground shade either matching or approximating Cream 524 and then shall be overprinted with the camouflage pattern by roller or screen printing. When the ground shade is dyed to match Cream 524, the remaining colors shall be obtained by subsequent printing using six rollers or screens, as appropriate for the Tan 525, Pale Green 526, Olive 527, Dark Green 528, Brown 529 and Dark Brown 530 areas of the pattern. When the ground shade is dyed to approximate Cream 524 all seven colors of the camouflage pattern shall be obtained by subsequent printing using seven rollers or screens to match all seven colors.

Those colors sound kind of familiar. Oddly enough, the new variant of OCP (Scorpion W2) is being referred to as OCP Class 14 and not 9 & 10, which is all that is covered in the most recent version of the standard. As you can imagine, this is becoming rather confusing having two similar, yet distinct patterns using the same name.

Maybe The Army Should Take A Look At MultiDoge

Sunday, September 7th, 2014

Just in case that whole Scorpion thing with printers blows up in their face, I suggest PEO Soldier take a hard look at MultiDoge as a backup plan.

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The US Air Force Might Not Be Adopting OCP Yet But Some Airmen Are Already Wearing It

Friday, September 5th, 2014

After the US Army’s recent announcement that they were switching wholesale to the Operational Camouflage Pattern, Airmen starting wondering if they were going to make the change as well next Summer. Well, not so fast. To be sure, the USAF has closely monitored the Army’s camouflaging efforts, but for the immediate future, the Air Force won’t be making an across the board uniform change. For home station wear, they are going to stick with the ill-named Airman Battlefield Uniform in glorious Digital Tigerstripe. Unfortunately, the Air Force’s vanity pattern sports the same grey-tones as the Army’s soon-to-be-replaced Universal Camouflage Pattern with an additional fourth color; Slate Blue. There’s a reason the Army is replacing UCP; it doesn’t live up to its name.

First Sergeant Recycles $250K in OCP Uniforms for Bagram Airmen
Photo: MSgt Nicholas Kollett, First Sergeant for the 455th Expeditionary Aircraft Maintenance Squadron stands in front of shelves of recycled Operation Enduring Freedom Camouflage Pattern uniforms at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, July 7, 2012. (US Air Force photo/Capt. Raymond Geoffroy)

But, Airmen have been wearing MultiCam since SOCOM first started issuing you it in the mid-2000s. AFSOC airmen continue to wear MultiCam garments to this day.

Battlefield Airmen Wearing MultiCam

Once the Army adopted MultiCam as OCP in 2009, Airmen operating in direct support of the Army began wearing it as well. Since then, more and more Air Force Elements wear the pattern. Officially, all Airmen deploying to OEF started receiving their OCP mobility gear from the Army’s stocks in 2011.

Operation Southern Strike III
Photo: USAF – SSgt Nathan Goedert, military dog handler, provides security during Operation Southern Strike III in the village of Jandad Kalay, Spin Boldak district, Kandahar province, Afghanistan, Sept. 9, 2012.

Even today, those in several Battlefield Airman specialties wear MultiCam/OCP for their day-to-day uniforms. In fact, MultiCam has been spec’d for a wide variety of uniforms and equipment as part of the community’s Battlefield Airman Management System which procures and issues mission specific gear. Additionally, several related but non-BA specialties also regularly use OCP kit such as EOD. However, everyone wears the ABU to PME and other USAF courses. It’s the standard issue uniform for all Airmen.

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But now, something major has happened. USAF’s Global Strike Command has decided to issue OCP to many of its Security Forces. Specifically, Security Forces Airmen at three Air Force Global Strike Command bases, Minot AFB, North Dakota, Malmstrom AFB, Montana and F.E. Warren AFB, Wyoming as well as those in the 620th Ground Combat Training Squadron serving at Camp Guernsey, Wyoming. After a mission analysis, the command determined that it was the best option for those protecting our Nuclear Deterrent capability. This new ensemble is called Model Defender by the command. Hopefully, it is a model for the future as well.

“What we were trying to do with this was build the best system for our nuclear defenders and the environment they operate in,” said Gregory Simpson, resource advisor for Security Forces contingency and requirements at AFGSC…”If you get in a firefight in the field and you’re laying down fire, who are you going to see first? Obviously that guy [in ABUs,]” said Chief Master Sgt. Scott Daigneault, senior enlisted manager for the Force Improvement Program at AFGSC. “The difference is almost night and day. Your eyes skim right over the guy in OCP and zone in on the guy in ABUs. He just doesn’t fit in in that [missile field] environment.”

GSC in OCP
Photo: Security Forces Airmen perform a training patrol at Minot Air Force Base, N.D. The Airman on the left is wearing an OCP (MultiCam) uniform, where the Airman on the right is wearing ABUs. (U.S. Air Force Courtesy Photo)

This move by GSC may well be a catalyst for further adoption. In the early 80s, the US military began a transition to the Woodland camouflage patterned Battle Dress Uniform from the old OG-507 fatigue uniform. Initially, special operations units made the switch followed by those that directly supported the Army such as TACPs and Combat Weather. Next, units with dedicated ground missions such as Security Police and Combat Comms adopted the BDU. Finally, at the end of the decade, the Air Force made the full swap with Basic Trainees receiving the uniforms at BMTS in 1988. In the photo below from that year, you can see the MTIs in BDUs but the trainees continue to wear fatigues.

1988 BMTS Photo

I think there are two issues afoot here and one has primacy over the other. First and foremost is cost. By their own admission, the Air Force has a rather large inventory of ABUs and accessories in stock with the Defense Logistics Agency. Think of DLA as a distributor that the AF (and other services) is required to purchase from. DLA doesn’t want to be stuck holding the bag with tens or even hundreds of millions of Dollars worth of clothing in the event the AF would want to change patterns so they require that the services buy out their inventory first. Based on current budget issues, the AF can think of lots of other ways to spend their money.

General Welsh Visit
Photo: Air Force Chief of Staff Gen Mark A. Welsh III talks with Senior Airman Michael Walker, 91st Security Forces Operations Squadron, during a tour of the U-01 launch facility trainer here, Nov. 21. The tour was part of Welsh’s first visit to Minot since becoming the chief of staff. (U.S. Air Force photo/A1C Andrew Crawford)

Second, is service identity. So long as you can’t really afford the swap, it’s good to tell yourself that you’re preserving the Air Force’s identity as a service by maintaining a distinctive uniform. Never mind that in the long run that it’s wasteful, that the folks who actually run the AF (pilots) don’t wear the darned thing and that it will never live up to its name as a battle uniform. In fact, the tigerstripe pattern was developed specifically to give the USAF a distinctive look after Chief of Staff of the Air Force James Jumper was referred to as a “Soldier”.

I do believe that one day, everyone in the USAF will be wearing OCP. But, just as it was in the 80s with the transition from Green Fatigues to BDUs, the Air Force will do so incrementally, at its own pace.

Some Background on Oakley’s Cerakote Ultrablend Camo

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014

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Last week, we visited Oakley’s Headquarters in Southern California. In addition to a great tour, we had a look behind the curtain at some emerging technologies, and then we sat down and had a discussion about the Ultrablend Camo pattern.

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After a tour of the five football field long building, we headed back into the Standard Issue team’s lair. I hadn’t been there since 2004 and it was awesome to see where they had moved to, and how much OakDef had grown (for more photos visit our Instagram feed).

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The discussion turned to Ultrablend when I mentioned that some readers felt it had a resemblance to the Kryptek family of camouflage. Turns out, it really doesn’t. But you may recognize the geometry, after all.

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You may recall the painted Camo patterns that Rangers (and others) were applying to their helmets several years back. One of the OakDef team members, Drew Wallace, is a former Ranger and he brought the technique to the brand. Oakley had just started experimenting with Cerakote and he put together a couple of examples (shown above with a TC2001 high cut helmet he wore in Iraq as a contractor). The glasses are the Wiretap (top) and Blender (bottom) and these were the prototypes that proved the concept.

Ultrablend is more of a concealment methodology than an exact pattern. Specifically, it’s based on the camouflage techniques taught in Army FM 21-75 Ch 1. A base color is applied and then subsequent layers of Cerakote are over sprayed using a mesh screen like used in helmets.

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In this photo you can see the SI Fuel Cell in the Desert and Black patterns. Ultrablend eyeglasses are individually airbrushed, utilizing two different patterns of netting and three different colors of Cerakote Gen II Firearm Coating. This offers the glasses added aspects of durability, abrasion resistance, and lower NIR reflectivity, along with a unique camouflage pattern.

Painted Sniper Rifle Image _ Ultrablend Story

The Ultrablend pattern is currently available on the SI Fuel Cell in Desert Sage although they’ve also created a Black version of the pattern. These are limited editions so if you’re interested, don’t wait around.

www.oakleysi.com

Scorpion W2 and MultiCam Side-by-Side

Sunday, August 24th, 2014

Like peas and carrots, the Scorpion W2 and MultiCam patterns are certainly complimentary but they aren’t exact matches.

MC-Scorpion Comparison

You asked for it, so here it is. Scorpion W2 is on the left and MultiCam pattern on the right. The lighting was not the same. However, the two side-by-side patterns are scaled based on the pattern repeat. This gives you an accurate view of how the pattern elements square up with one another.

A Look at Operational Camouflage Pattern (Scorpion W2 Variant)

Friday, August 22nd, 2014

Yesterday, SSD received several yards of the Scorpion W2 variant of the US Army’s recently adopted Operational Camouflage Pattern in 500D Cordura. As you can see, from these photos, it is similar to the commercial MultiCam pattern developed by Crye Precision and used by the US Army as OCP in Operation Enduring Freedom as well as various other DoD elements over the years. But, it isn’t an exact match. There are numerous differences in the patterns.

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The May 2014 marginal marking is the date that the pattern was registered.

Scorpion W2 Pattern

Two striking elements are the rather wide brown and green-based bands that run across the pattern. Additionally, you will note that Scorpion W2 is less dense than MultiCam and lacks vertical elements present in MultiCam.

Colors

Here you can see the eight colors in the pattern’s palette. The pattern is 60″ wide and repeats every 25″ vertically, which is the close to the same as MultiCam.
Pattern Repeat

Click here and then right click on image to see the full res version.

Below, you can see the MultiCam pattern. The pattern is about 60″ wide with a 26″ vertical repeat. The pattern is much more dense and would seem busy when compared to Scorpion W2. However, we do have almost 10 years of effective operational use of the pattern which was used as a baseline pattern in the unfinished Phase IV of the US Army Camouflage Improvement Effort.

MultiCam Pattern Sample

Please Note, major coloration differences are due to photos taken in different lighting.

What do you think?

Boom: That Just Happened

Thursday, August 21st, 2014

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Something Cool Just Showed Up At SSD. Details soon!

Kryptek – Tartaros Hoodies

Wednesday, August 20th, 2014

Tartaros Hoodie 1

Kryptek’s Tartaros hoodie is a piece of casual wear that can either be worn as part of a layering system or as a stand alone outer layer piece. Made from 97.5% polyester and 2.5% spandex, the Tartaros features a stretch fabric front kangaroo pocket and 3-piece hood with draw adjustment. Currently available in three Kryptek patterns, in four configurations: Highlander, Typhon w/ black, Typhon w/ red, and Yeti.

www.kryptekstore.com/Streetwear-C9

TRU-SPEC MultiCam Tropic And Arid Uniforms Now Available On PredatorBDU

Tuesday, August 19th, 2014

TRU-SPEC MultiCam Tropic Arid

TRU-SPEC’s line of clothing in MultiCam Tropic and Arid patterns is now available for purchase on PredatorBDU.com. The Tru-Spec TRU Uniform Coat, Tru-Spec TRU Uniform Pant, and TRU-SPEC Patrol Cap are all available in the Tropic and Arid patterns, and in all standard sizing options.

www.predatorbdu.com

OR Summer Market – Salomon

Monday, August 11th, 2014

New colors coming 2015 for the SpeedCross.

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