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US Army Seeking Digital Printing Capability

Natick has issued a Sources Sought Synopsis looking for companies that are capable of digitally printing on a variety of substrates (fabrics). Additionally, they must be capable of NIR and SWIR compliance. Specifically:

Natick Soldier Systems Center requires rapid printed fabrics for field/lab testing of camouflage patterns for use in woodland, transitional and arid environments that conform to visual, NIR and SWIR requirements.

The Army is interested in prints on 50/50 Nylon/Cotton Ripstop Fabric, 500D Cordura and Rayon/Para-Aramid/Nylon Ripstop Fabric.

Notice in the documentation they reference Woodland, Transitional and Arid patterns? They go on and on about this, repeating it four times which tells me that, despite the contractual machinations currently (not) underway with Crye Precision for OCP (MultiCam), Natick is committed to working with a family of camouflage consisting of a Transitional pattern combined with Bookend Woodland and Arid patterns. Perhaps someone has realized that they actually own the Scorpion pattern (seen below), a precursor to MultiCam developed for the Objective Force Warrior program and can do pretty much anything they want with it. Then again, maybe not.

OFW

At this point, the Army is in a bit of quandry, having banked on a soft transition to OCP. Now, no one seems sure if the Army will be capable of moving away from the UCP camouflage. If a friend asked me in October if I knew what was happening I’d say “yes.” If they asked me now, I’d tell a story that sounds like a plot to an episode of “Three’s Company” and say “Not so much.”

As for trying to keep up; the Army is getting pretty savvy on releasing solicitation notices that deal with developmental camouflage issues on FedBizOpps. Looks like they’ve figured out that folks are keeping an eye on them so they are issuing them without any discussion of camouflage on the actual notice. Take for instance this one. It is titled “Fabric Printing BPAs.” You have to get down into the attachments to see what is really going on. Sneaky, Sneaky. But don’t worry Army, we will keep an eye out for you to help keep you honest. Since the Army likes to alter the public record by deleting postings once they’ve been brought to light on SSD, we’ve included the meat of what the Army is looking for below.

Click to download: CAMO_BPA2_Spec23Jan2014

If you’re interested in answering up, you’ve got until February 4th.

For the full Sources Sought Synopsis visit Fabric Printing BPAs.

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41 Responses to “US Army Seeking Digital Printing Capability”

  1. Steven S says:

    Thanks for the scoop and for now having an download link of the documents.

  2. Kaos-1 says:

    The United States Army has officially gone full-retard with this camouflage stuff.

  3. Guy Cramer says:

    Uncle Sam, we’ve been do this since 2010. See http://www.ghostex.com and http://www.hyperstealth.com/deceptex/70-30-LW-fabric-order.html and http://www.hyperstealth.com/US4CES-Bravo-Charlie.html granted only Ghostex will work in NIR/SWIR as we purposely leave that out of our commercial lines.

    I am guessing again, as this is not your first solicitation asking for this capability, that you can’t use HyperStealth as we are Canadian based. It’s a good thing that most of your Special Operations teams are not required to go through this red tape when they need something from us.

    • Mac says:

      Seriously?

    • Slim Cognito says:

      ‘Bout time someone said it! Thank you Mr. Cramer!

      ” Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we’ll ever see on this earth!”

      “The best minds are not in government. If any were, business would steal them away.”

      -Ronald Reagan

  4. Mike Nomad says:

    Sorry, but I have to ask… Does anybody know the make/model of the footwear?

  5. Chris says:

    Some one has probably said this already, but every time I see that picture it makes me think of Johnny Rico from starship troopers!

  6. Slim Cognito says:

    Compared to anyone else, the Army’s research-then-adopt projects are like…..are like…..

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gHCxdlZ7G18

  7. thomas says:

    No wonder we only got that tiny 1% this year. They continually waste budget on this crap. They need to just announce the OCP transition and leave it alone. This constant hunt for the greatest camo ever has wasted so much money. I don’t agree with Congress on one pattern for all but you can’t help but agree with their reason for wanting it.

  8. DBACK028 says:

    I’m starting this is a stalling technique. Waiting it out to see what the hell congress will say. I would wait too. I wouldn’t want to spend 3 billion dollars again if congress will make it to where everyone has a joint camo. Then again the would have to find something that actually works this time too. If they can do that then the Army still gets to keep whatever they decide to use…but I don’t think there is enough time to do another camo re-test before somebody in congress notices and starts raising a fuss about it. It used to be entertaining to me, now it’s like a long drawn out comedy show.

    • SSD says:

      Congress has spoken with a law that has no teeth.

      Did you read this?

      https://soldiersystems.net/2013/12/20/2014-ndaa/

      • DanW says:

        Has the SECDEF released his guidance yet? I’m hoping that he’ll have some common sense on this and take it as an opportunity to tell everyone to use the same family of patterns (though he could have done that the day his term started).

        • DBACK028 says:

          DanW SECDEF has no power…like SSD stated…it’s congress’s deal and one that has no teeth. We all know for a fact that the Corp won’t part with their precious MARPAT…the link that SSD posted up pretty much well sums up the only thing that could be done. There won’t be a single uniform, but I’m interested in seeing how the Army responds. Will they have a new set of cammies in by the “deadline date”, I use that term very loosely, I highly doubt it.

      • DBACK028 says:

        I read it, but the Army would have to find a camouflage that works prior to the law date, correct? And if we’re talking about the same Army (and I know we are) nothing gets done fast. Now, I know that the marine corp and the navy will probably keep their camo…MARPAT and AOR….so it’s a law that has no teeth because it doesn’t apply to half the branches…HOWEVER…the law has a gummy bite on the army and the air force because each of them have crap battle dress uniforms. I do have a question though…since the Army has issued OCP to its soldiers…can’t they wait and just take their time to decide whether or not it wants to use Multicam?

        • Strike-Hold says:

          “since the Army has issued OCP to its soldiers…can’t they wait and just take their time to decide whether or not it wants to use Multicam?”

          If you go back through SSD’s coverage of this topic, you’ll see that this is apparently exactly what the Army is doing – in a very “softly, softly, let’s hope nobody notices” kind of way…

          On the other hand, there’s also nothing stopping them from going with OSW either.

  9. Kory Smith says:

    I tried thinking of a comment but the only thing I could muster was an aneurysm.

  10. 32sbct says:

    Well, I finally broke down and bought another UCP ACU. I kept hoping that some kind of announcement moving to OCP would come out, but I could wait no more. It really hurt putting money into another uniform that has such a worthless camouflage pattern.

    I still don’t understand why they just don’t go with the scorpion pattern. It looks just like OCP and the Army already owns the pattern. But hey, we’ve been waiting for a new version of 670-1 since 2005, and that is just words on paper. I think I could update it myself in less then a month. This is really sad.

    • Sal says:

      IIRC scorpion isn’t quite as effective as production multicam/OCP.

      • 32sbct says:

        My comment to go with scorpion was based on what may be problems resolving contractual issues with Crye over multicam. I agree that multicam is better. Not to mention that there are plenty of Soldiers who already have it based on their time in Afghanistan. But if they can’t work that out, the scorpion pattern is far better then what we have.

  11. William9487 says:

    This whole thing has turned fucking retarded. I read that Congress has passed a toothless law but in this day and age of ass kissing brass they probably don’t want to do anything to ruffle feathers of their superiors, regardless of what dragging their feet does to the rank and file. This is no longer about the Soldier, it’s about their next OER. I have lost faith in the leadership. Great job DA, keep up the good work!

  12. HOLLYWOOD319 says:

    I don’t even care anymore

  13. HOLLYWOOD319 says:

    Something I saw the other day, U.S. Air force, and U.S. Marines name tapes on OCP without unit patches obviously. Thought the Marines couldn’t wear OCP

  14. HOLLYWOOD319 says:

    They don’t have anything OCP at clothing and sales yet. Like I said though, I didn’t think Marines were allowed to wear it. Could this be the beginnings of a truly “universal camouflage pattern”?! Lol

    • SSD says:

      I’m curious, what is this “clothing and sales” you speak of?

      • Kory Smith says:

        A commissary maybe?

      • HOLLYWOOD319 says:

        I cant tell if you’re kidding or what but, the Clothing and Sales I speak of is the one in the mini mall on post at Bragg. Not the one in 82nd land. The other one tucked away in the back of the food court.