New uniform unveiled 20 December 2009
UK Armed Forces are to be issued with combat clothing to improve their operational effectiveness. The new uniforms include the first change in 40 years to the British camouflage pattern.
Personnel in Afghanistan operate across a wide range of environments - desert, woodland/jungle, compounds, crops, grassland and arid stone. They frequently move through environments during their patrols, and often go through several in the course of one operation - but existing camouflages are optimised for single environments. An MOD Urgent Operational Requirement (UOR) was authorised in April, and a programme of research has taken place since then to compare in-service camouflages with newly developed patterns and commercial off-the-shelf products.
A wide range of camouflages and colours were trialled, in the UK, Cyprus, Kenya and Afghanistan. The trials included visual comparisons, objective assessments of the time to detect the different camouflages against different backgrounds, and subjective user opinions on the efficacy of the performance. Crye's Multicam technology was found to be the best performing across the widest range of environments by a significant margin - reducing the chance of detection in mixed environments - and it was selected as the new UK camouflage. It will be known as Multi-Terrain Pattern (MTP).
Uniforms in the new pattern will be issued to all personnel deploying to Afghanistan from March 2010 and issued more widely to the UK Armed Forces from 2011. The roll-out of new clothing will also coincide with a change in clothing cut, to provide coherence with new ballistic protection systems.