Fractal Creep: New Digitized Camo Uniforms for USAF, USN, Jordan
Back on January 9, 2006, DID ran a very popular article discussing the growth of fractal camouflage patterns, including Canada’s trail-blazing CADPAT, the Marines MARPAT, and HyperStealth’s advanced digital KA2 camouflage pattern created for Jordan. HyperStealth had also developed technologies to apply these patterns to aircraft, vehicles, and buildings. Digital camoufalge is a definite trend.
Since then, DID has covered the US Army’s ACUPAT scheme and other improvements to the new Army Combat Uniform. Meanwhile, there are further developments. The US Navy now has a pixilated uniform based on MARPAT, approved and released in early March. The US Air Force has just released its Airman Battle Uniform, based on a slightly pixilated tiger stripe pattern. In Jordan, over 300,000 uniforms have now been produced in variants of HyperStealth’s digital KA2 pattern, including a new Civil Defense Directorate KA2 Blue/Grey digital pattern. Research into night/urban, vehicle and aircraft camouflage patterns is also continuing. Details follow…
Jordan’s Civil Defence Directorate is linked to the Ministry of Interior. Primary tasks are Fire-Fighting, Rescue and Ambulance services; though other tasks involve explosives-related tasks and monitoring oil & gas infrastructure. King Abdullah II personally selected the color scheme by combining the grey urban colors for the Public Security Directorate (Police) pattern with the Blue colors from the Deep Blue (Navy) pattern. The KA2 Deep Blue Digital color scheme was conceived of in early 2004 as a night pattern for Jordan’s Counter Terrorism Battalion (CTB) 71, many months prior to the U.S. Navy’s recently-approved digital blue/grey design based on MARPAT. To avoid confusion, Jordan’s police would later shift into a more urban pattern, while their blue pattern was modified and picked up by the Royal Jordanian Navy.
Over 300,000 “KA2” Digital patterned uniforms have been manufactured to date for the Royal Guard, Special Forces, Army (Strength 86,000), Air Force (Strength 16,000), Navy, Public Security Directorate (Police) and the Civil Defense Directorate. There are now six separate color scheme used within the Jordanian Armed Forces, Law Enforcement and the Civil Defense Services.
HyperStealth notes that new patterns are being developed for the Jordanian Counter-Terrorism Battalion 71 by HyperStealth and Lt. Col. Timothy R. O’Neill, Ph.D. (U.S. Army, Ret.), whose research work formed the basis of both CADPAT and MARPAT. the design will taske advantage of “recent research findings which have advanced the knowledge and understanding of special concealment techniques in urban and night settings.”
In addition, Jordan continues to develop their digital concealment programs with HyperStealth Biotechnology Corp. for their Military and Security Vehicles, Equipment and Aircraft.
Meanwhile, the US Air Force has released the slightly-pixilated Tiger Stripe Airman Battle Uniform. The new uniform design is a pixilated tiger stripe with four soft earth tones consisting of tan, grey, green and blue. The ABU will have a permanent crease and will be offered in 50-50 nylon-cotton blend permanent press fabric eliminating the need for winter and summer weight uniforms. It will also be available in more body sizes, tailored for men and women. A tan T-shirt and polish-free suede cowhide boots in matching green-gray color will accompany the uniform, and will be available in men’s and women’s sizes.
Brig. Gen Robert R. Allardice said that they “were looking for a uniform that… the Airman wouldn’t need to spend a lot of out-of-pocket expenses to maintain… We listened to the Airmen’s request where they wanted pockets to hold small tools and when they wear body armor the existing shirt pockets are not accessible or usable… It will have the four pockets on the front of the shirt, and also a small pencil pocket on the left forearm and two pockets on the lower legs. In addition, inside the side pockets and inside of the breast pockets there will be smaller sewn-in pockets to hold small tools, flashlights or cell phones… Our uniform requirement is we want a uniform that you wash, pull it out of the dryer, and wear it… We don’t want people putting an iron to it.” See the full USAF release for further details.
In the US Navy, Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. Mike Mullen recently approved plans for a BDU-style (Battle Dress Uniform) working uniform for all Sailors E-1 to O-10, and a more practical, year-round service uniform to withstand day-to-day classroom and office-like environments where the service uniform is typically worn. The announcement is the culmination of a three-year project.
The BDU-style working uniform, designed to replace seven different styles of current working uniforms, is made of a near maintenance-free permanent press 50/50 nylon and cotton blend. Worn with a blue cotton t-shirt, it will include an eight-point cover, a black web belt with closed buckle, and black smooth leather boots, with black suede no-shine boots for optional wear while assigned to non-shipboard commands.
To meet the all-weather requirement, the new working uniform will include several cold weather options, such as a unisex pullover sweater, a fleece jacket, and a parka. It will also be made in three variants, all in a multi-color digital print pattern: predominately blue, with some gray, for the majority of Sailors and shipboard use. There will also be a woodland digital pattern and a desert digital pattern for Sailors serving in units requiring those types of uniforms.
The manner of wear for both of these new uniforms remains under development by TFU and will not be effective until guidelines on prescribed wear are incorporated in the Navy Uniform Regulations. During the expected two-year transition period, Sailors will be required to maintain a complete inventory of sea bag items. Once the working and service uniforms are adopted, Sailors will receive a uniform maintenance allowance appropriate to support purchase and wear. Next on the agenda are additional options, such as reviving the traditional Service Dress Khaki uniform for chiefs and officers, examining the feasibility of a of a service-wide physical training uniform like the USAF’s, consideration of a ceremonial cutlass for chiefs, and investigation into a more practical service-wide, all-weather coat that would provide a better military appearance.
“The bottom line for me in making these decisions,” said CNO Mullen, “is culture. Uniforms reflect our culture — who we are — what we stand for. I’ve said all along that no matter which way we go, I want Sailors to look like Sailors. I really believe these uniforms pass that test.” See full Navy release for further details.
Note that DID is not covering ongoing contracts or changes for USN uniforms, except on an ad hoc basis.
- Military.com (aug 10/10) – Navy Testing Two New Camo Uniforms. The bright colors of their newest at-sea uniform were inappropriate for anything other than shipboard operations, and Navy sailors are doing a fair amount of work on land. Hence Navy Working Uniforms Type II/III with desert/woodland patters.