Universal Camouflage Pattern
The Universal Camouflage Pattern (UCP), also referred to as ARPAT (ARmy PATtern) is the military camouflage pattern currently in use in the United States Army's Army Combat Uniform. The pattern was chosen after several laboratory and field tests that occurred from 2003 to 2004. Its digital pattern is a modification of the United States Marine Corps' MARPAT camouflage and research into Dual Texture (Dual-Tex) Camouflage conducted in the 1970s.
Initial patterns and colors
Three patterns were developed, called All Over Brush, Track, and Shadow/Line. For each pattern, there were four color combinations, which corresponded to a specific type of terrain, however, all four patterns used tan as their base color. The three remaining colors were green, brown, and black for the Woodland pattern, dark tan, khaki, and brown for the Desert pattern, light gray, medium gray, and black for the Urban pattern, and dark tan, light gray, and brown for the Desert/Urban pattern.
There were a total of fifteen evaluations, which took place at Fort Benning, Fort Polk, Fort Irwin, Fort Lewis, and Yakima, WA. The camouflage patterns were then rated on their blending, brightness, contrast, and detection by US Army soldiers, during the daytime, and also at night using night vision devices.
Elimination of patterns
Following testing, the Shadow Line pattern was eliminated entirely, along with the urban and desert/urban patterns of All Over Brush. All four of the Track patterns were accepted along with All Over Brush's woodland and desert patterns.
Phase II & III
The patterns were then modified and tested alongside a newly introduced "Contractor-Developed Mod" pattern, Multicam. Near Infrared testing determined that black, medium gray, and medium tan were the only colors that gave acceptable performance.
Phase IV (System Level)
All four remaining patterns, desert Brush, Multicam, Woodland Track, and Urban Track were then tested alongside each other in urban, woodland, and desert environments.
The desert Brush design received the best overall mean daytime visual rating. Contractor developed pattern received highest rating in woodland environments, but low ratings in desert and urban environments. Urban Track was generally the 3rd or 4th worst performer at each site. Infrared testing showed negligible differences in the performance of the four patterns. Natick rated the patterns from best to worst as: Desert Brush, Woodland Track Mod, Contractor-Developed Mod, and Urban Track.
The pattern is noticeable for its elimination of the color black. The color scheme of the Army Combat Uniform is composed of a gray, tan and sage green digital pattern. The color black was omitted from the uniform because it is not commonly found in nature. Pure black, when viewed through night vision goggles, appears excessively dark and creates an undesirable high-contrast image.
The Urban Track pattern, which had received the poorest ratings in visual detection from the Natick Soldier Center's testing, was nevertheless modified and selected as the basis for the Army's Universal Camouflage Pattern. The pattern was digitized and the color black was removed entirely. Soldiers have reported that while the pattern is effective in an urban or desert environment, it is less effective in others, particularly jungle and tropical terrain. As the U.S. Army is currently involved in the Middle-East, the uniform may have been biased towards the current operating environments.
If passed by the Senate, House of Representatives Bill 2346 would require the Department of Defense to "take immediate action to provide combat uniforms to personnel deployed to Afghanistan with a camouflage pattern that is suited to the environment of Afghanistan.” The Army is currently evaluating alternative camouflage patterns to determine if this is a necessary action. In recent tests conducted by the U.S. Army's Natick Soldier Center, results indicated that three other patterns did significantly better than UCP in desert and woodland environments.
- ↑ ACU Presentation (ArmyStudyGuide.com)
- ↑ Defense Tech: Singing the ACU Blues
- ↑ New uniform details
- ↑ Dual Texure (Dual-Tex) U.S. Army Digital Camouflage History
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 Dugas, Anabela; Kramer, F. Matthew (2004-12-15), Universal Camouflage For The Future Warrior, U.S. Army Natick Soldier Center, pp. 27, http://www.dtic.mil/ndia/2004issc/wednesday/dugas.ppt
- ↑ 6.0 6.1  Universal Camouflage
- ↑ New Digital U.S. Army Combat Uniform eliminates Black in pattern
- ↑ kamouflage.net > North America > United States of America > Army Combat Uniform Pattern, grey-urban trial
- ↑ Army News, opinions, editorials, news from Iraq, photos, reports - Army Times
- ↑ New Army Uniform Doesn't Measure Up
- ↑ Defense Tech: When You Don't Want to Take Out the Trash
- ↑ Articles
- ↑ Defense Tech: New Army Camos: No Place to Hide?
- ↑ Maze, Rick (21 June 2009). "Troops in Afghanistan would get new uniforms". ArmyTimes (Army Times Publishing Company). http://armytimes.com/news/2009/06/military_afghanistan_uniforms_061509w/. Retrieved 13 August 2009.
- ↑ Cox, William (17 September 2009). "UCP fares poorly in Army camo test". Army Times (Army Times Publishing Company). http://www.armytimes.com/news/2009/09/army_camo_test_091509w/. Retrieved 17 September 2009.