Even before the UCP was issued to soldiers, lab tests showed that it didn't perform as well as other designs. But the Army's textile researchers now say that military brass had already made up their minds in favor of the new-fangled pixelated look.
It didn't take long for sergeants to begin complaining from the field, and by the summer of 2009, the $5 billion boondoggle had made its way to the floor of the House of Representatives. Soldiers in Afghanistan were issued replacement uniforms with a more traditional, splotchy camouflage known as MultiCam, and the Army embarked on a three-year study to choose a permanent replacement. That period is almost over, and though critics have focused more on the UCP's washed-out colors than its pixel scheme, it's starting to look as if the military's long-running experiment with "digital camouflage" is about to end, once and for all.
Over the next year, America’s largest fighting force is swapping its camouflage pattern. The move is a quiet admission that the last uniform — a pixelated design that debuted in 2004 at a cost of $5 billion — was a colossal mistake.
Soldiers have roundly criticized the gray-green uniform for standing out almost everywhere it’s been worn. Industry insiders have called the financial mess surrounding the pattern a “fiasco.”
As Army researchers work furiously on a newer, better camouflage, it’s natural to ask what went wrong and how they’ll avoid the same missteps this time around. In a candid interview with The Daily, several of those researchers said Army brass interfered in the selection process during the last round, letting looks and politics get in the way of science.
“It got into political hands before the soldiers ever got the uniforms,” said Cheryl Stewardson, a textile technologist at the Army research center in Natick, Mass., where most of the armed forces camouflage patterns are made.
Ask any soldier in the US Army and he/she will tell you that the ACU is trash. Absolutely horrible. It doesn't disguise us in the mountains of eastern Afghanistan, it doesn't disguise us in the deserts of Iraq and southern Afghanistan, and it was all done to fill the pockets of former high-ranking officers of the Army in private industry now heading organizations in charge of recommending and manufacturing uniforms.
For eight years, soldiers have complained that the ACU is bad. For two years, soldiers have declared that the multicam we had when deployed to Afghanistan made us look like soldiers, disguised us in the battle environment, and already had been partially fielded with equipment. It was too easy to just make it the standard. But of course, first we have to fill the pockets of private contracted industry. And so it goes on and on and on...
Originally posted by alfa1
Originally posted by stanguilles7
Did you know the US military has spent 5 billion on their digital camo uniforms and equipment you see?
Yes, I did know.
Originally posted by pointr97
I'm completely confused by this news, having been an Army cavalry scout, I understand the need to blend into the environment.....What I don't understand is the cost.....How in the world could testing patterns cost so dang much.....try a pattern, make a uniform, put it on a person, send them out 100 yards maybe 200, see what it looks like......5 billion.....OMG, you would have gone through every single iteration of uniform possible. Sorry, but I can't possibly believe that taking our previous uniforms and pixelating them (since that is really what it looks like) cost that amount of money.....Either one HUGE over charge or that money went somewhere else.