OCP Uniform (Scorpion W2)

New Operational Camouflage Pattern for the U.S Air Force & Army

This page last updated: April 11, 2019

Scorpion OCP Uniform Commercially Available at TacticalGear.com

Until recently, a commercial license for Scorpion OCP was not available, meaning the only way to get hands on the uniform was through government issue or AAFES stores. The government is now granting commercial licenses for OCP fabric and several manufacturers have begun production. Development of additional garments and accessories such as combat shirts, helmet covers and hats are also underway.

TacticalGear.com is the first place to offer the new uniform in Scorpion OCP. Available now, you can shop pants and coats in the approved construction and pattern.

At a Glance

  • Operational Camouflage Pattern (OCP), also known as Scorpion W2, named official combat camouflage for Army and Air Force
  • OCP (Scorpion W2) and MultiCam both variants of Scorpion pattern developed by Crye Precision in 2002 as part of the Objective Force Warrior program
  • Tru-Spec releases MultiCam uniform in the new construction
  • Uniform updates include thread and zippers in tan 499, new pockets, a new fold-down collar and the removal of Velcro
  • Boots and gloves will now be a coyote brown color with T-shirts in tan 499
  • Available Now: Authorized Coyote Brown Boots
  • Army Mandatory possession date for OCP: October 1, 2019
  • Air Force Mandatory possession date for OCP: October 1, 2021

U.S. Army Selects New Pattern

On July 31, 2014 the Army officially announced that a new camouflage pattern, known internally as Scorpion W2, will be named the Operational Camouflage Pattern (OCP). Not only does this new pattern replace MultiCam, which acted as the OCP until 2015, but also replaces Universal Camouflage Pattern (UCP) as the official ACU pattern. For more than a decade, the Army has relied on the widely unpopular UCP as the official standard-issue pattern.

The Air Force followed suit with an announcement made Monday, May 14, 2018 that the branch would be replacing the digital tiger stripe Airman Battle Uniform (ABU) with the OCP uniform.

The original Scorpion pattern was developed by Crye Precision as part of the Objective Force Warrior program more than a decade ago. The Scorpion W2 variant was modified from the initial pattern by Army Natick Labs. Similar in design to MultiCam, the chosen pattern started being used in the field during the summer of 2015.

"The Army is naming the pattern the Operational Camouflage Pattern (OCP) to emphasize that the pattern's use extends beyond Afghanistan to all Combatant Commands." - Senior Army Spokesperson, U.S. Army

After a four-year intensive camouflage research and testing process, this selection couldn't have been more anticipated.

"The Army has confirmed through testing that the (Scorpion W2) pattern would offer exceptional concealment, which directly enhances force protection and survivability for Soldiers," the an anonymous Army senior spokesperson said.

Speculation about the selection began back in May when Military.com broke the news that Sgt. Major of the Army Raymond Chandler III had been briefing senior sergeants major on the selection. On July 23, 2014 Gen. Dennis L. Via, the head of Army Material Command, unofficially confirmed the Army has adopted the W2 variant of the Scorpion camouflage.

Operational Camouflage Pattern

The Army has decided to call the new pattern Operational Camouflage Pattern (OCP), a name sure to spark confusion considering up to this announcement, MultiCam was known as the OCP.

"The Army is naming the pattern the Operational Camouflage Pattern (OCP) to emphasize that the pattern's use extends beyond Afghanistan to all Combatant Commands," says an anonymous senior spokesperson for the Army in a statement regarding the new pattern on the Army's website.

Scorpion OCP Uniform

MSG Benjamin Owen wearing the OCP (Scorpion W2) ACU

What We Know

The Scorpion OCP uniform was first available for soldiers to purchase on the July 1, 2015. The new uniform is worn in garrison, training and home station. AAFES saw huge sales that day, selling 62,000 units of new items including boots, socks, T-shirts, coats and trousers.

The Air Force transition to the new uniform is scheduled to begin Oct. 1 of 2018. Enlisted airmen will see a increase in their annual clothing allowance on that date. By April 1, 2021, OCP will be mandatory for all airmen and the current airman battle uniform will be eliminated.

In August 2018, a fabric mill obtained a commercial license for the OCP fabric and now several manufacturers are making the new uniform construction, along with other accessories, in the approved pattern. Online retailer TacticalGear.com is the first to offer the approved uniform construction in Scorpion OCP.

Beginning April 1, 2019, airmen will be able to purchase OCP uniforms at AAFES stores. In order to keep up with the inventory demand, OCP will not be open to Air Force service members on AAFES online services until October of 2019.

Uniform coats and pants in OCP are currently selling for around $96, which is $12 more than the old uniforms at $84. Other uniform components, such as boots, shirts, socks and caps did not see a significant price change.

"We've got to have the best system possible to make sure our Soldiers are protected as they deploy around the world," said Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno in a virtual town meeting on January 6, 2015. "The ACU doesn't do very well in camouflaging us and protecting us in multiple environments, and the MultiCam that we use in Afghanistan does a much better job. For me, it's about protecting our Soldiers."

  • U.S Army soldier wearing OCP trains Iraqi Army Soldiers, March, 24, 2015. U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Cody Quinn.

It will be mandatory for other active duty Soldiers to purchase uniforms with their annual clothing allowance. By the beginning of the fiscal year 2016, new accessions will have the OCP uniform in their clothing bags.

On October 3, the 75th Ranger Regiment debuted the new OCP uniform during its 30th anniversary ceremony. This makes it the first unit to wear the new uniform. These uniforms were procured with private funds by unit leaders and not with government funds.

According to MIL-DTL-44436B, the specifications used by the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) for industry guidance, there are seven colors that make up the official OCP pattern; cream 524, tan 535, pale g reen 526, olive 527, dark green 528, brown 529 and dark brown 530.

The cloth will be dyed to a base shade of cream 524 and the remaining six colors will be overprinted by rollers or screens. Previously OCP has been referred to as Class 9 & 10 in previous versions of the MIL-DTL-44436B, but the new OCP is being called OCP Class 14.Currently, OCP is being printed on only nylon / cotton fabric.

When asked whether the new Scorpion OCP uniforms will be available for commercial use, Army Spokesperson William Layer said, "This issue is still under internal Army discussion."

Release Date

OCP (Scorpion W2) uniforms first hit military clothing stores on July 1, 2015. Female versions of the new uniform were available starting September 2015. By summer 2016, OCP uniforms and equipment were available for U.S. Army National Guard, U.S. Army Reserve and Senior Reserve Officer Training Corps. The Army expects the transition period to the new uniform to extend until October 1, 2019. During this time Soldiers are authorized to mix and match t-shirts, belts and boots. In addition, wet-weather gear and Extended Cold Weather Clothing System items do not have to match the camouflage pattern of the uniform worn during the transition period.

"I have asked noncommissioned officers to ensure their Soldiers understand that during this transition period, several uniforms and variations will be authorized in our formations," Sgt. Maj. of the Army Daniel A. Dailey said. "Presenting a professional appearance is very important to Soldiers. But, we will not inconvenience or burden our troops. We will still be the most lethal fighting force the world has ever known even if our belts don't match for the next few years."

"If you're deploying to Afghanistan or Iraq and some other places, you're [going to be] issued that uniform as you're getting ready to deploy," Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno during a virtual town hall with troops at Fort Hood, Texas on April 2, 2015.

Photos were taken in March 2015 of Soldiers wearing OCP while training Iraqi troops at Camp Taji, Iraq. Troops in Europe participating in the Operation Atlantic Resolve will also be issued OCP.

  • Soldier wearing OCP trains Iraqi Army Soldiers on March 3, 2015. Image via Army Times

The Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) converted its contracts for the ACU from UCP to OCP in November 2014. In conjunction, the DLA converted "bag items" including hot weather, temperate weather and hot weather FR issue boots to coyote brown.

The first deliveries were due to the DLA by May 1, 2015. On July 1, AAFES MCS started selling OCP uniforms. Authorized coyote brown boots will be allowed for wear only with the OCP uniform. Desert tan boots can be worn with both the UCP ACU and OCP uniform but have a wear-out date of October 1, 2018.

The implementation of these new uniforms have been organized into four tiers, with tier one being the most important priority.

Tier One: Everything that goes into the clothing bag (coats, pants, boots, gloves etc.)

Tier Two: All combat clothing items purchased through Rapid Fielding Initiative (RFI). Examples include helmets, clothing items and hydration systems. Expected availability unknown.

Tier Three and Four: Less essential items like sleeping bags. Expected availability unknown.

Commercial Availability

Scorpion OCP fabric was made available for commercial sale in August 2018. Online retailer, TacticalGear.com, obtained an exclusive release, becoming the first to offer the new uniform construction in the approved pattern for commercial sale.

Speculation about a commercial availability date for Scorpion OCP started years ago when the Army adopted the pattern. The government filed for a patent application as early as 2014 and was granted a utility patent on July 7, 2015.

The delay in a commercial release is credited towards the debate on who owns the patent for the pattern, Crye Precision or the U.S. Government. While the original patent was issued to Caleb Crye, the pattern was developed through a government-awarded contract.

Until now, the government had no incentive for the pattern to become commercially available. However, the demand for uniforms and accessories such as helmet covers and combat shirts has made commercial availability of OCP a necessity. The Air Force adoption of OCP along with Army mandatory possession date quickly approaching is only increasing the need for new manufacturers of the pattern. A shortage of MultiCam-printed nylon further exacerbates the issue, as it makes it difficult for soldiers and airmen to get their hands on the only OCP alternative.

Wear-out Dates

On June 2, the Army released key dates for the transition to OCP:

  • UCP ACU wear-out date: September 30, 2019
  • OCP ACU mandatory possession date: October 1, 2019
  • OEF-CP wear-out date: September 30, 2019

The Air Force announced the following dates for its transition:

  • Digital tiger stripe ABU wear-out date: March, 31, 2021
  • OCP Uniform mandatory possession date: April 1, 2021

Shirts, belts and boots worn with OCP uniforms are going to be in a darker color than the desert tan shirts, belts and boots worn with UCP. During the transition period, desert tan shirts, belts and boots will be authorized for wear (as long as all components are the same color) with both UCP and OCP uniforms until the UCP wear-out date. Mixing and matching of components is prohibited otherwise. No transition guidelines have been outlined for the Air Force yet.

Air Force Adopting OCP

Enhancing our readiness, the OCP is a uniform for form, fit and function," LaBrutta told reporters May 9, "It is the best-of-breed of utility uniform that we believe is in the inventory.

On May 14, 2018 the Air Force officially announced the new battle dress: Operational Camouflage Pattern (OCP). The selection will replace digital tiger stripe Airman Battle Uniform (ABU), a four-color pixelated camouflage which has been the combat uniform since 2007.

"Enhancing our readiness, the OCP is a uniform for form, fit and function," Maj. Gen. Robert LaBrutta told reporters May 9, "It is the best-of-breed of utility uniform that we believe is in the inventory."

Airman feedback played a big role in the decision, officials said. "Service members have asked about the uniform at almost every town hall," said Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson.

Guidance on authorized wear of the uniform will be available in the coming months through the Air Force Guidance Memorandum and eventually published in AFI 36-2903. T-shirts and belts accompanying the uniform will be tan, while the boots will move from sage to coyote brown.

Airmen will have distinctive lettering on their name tapes in a spice-brown color. Unit patches and functional identifiers will be in subdued colors and worn on sleeves, with flags on the right shoulder and unit patches on the left shoulder.

ABU to ACU-OCP Transition Accoutrements

"This celebrates joint warfighting excellence as OCPs will become the joint combat uniform for airmen and soldiers while patches and name tapes will identify our respective services," Chief of Staff of the Air Force Gen. David L. Goldfein said, "We'll maintain our distinctive Air Force uniforms in blues, service dress, mess dress, and PT gear."

Speculation about the transition began in March of 2018, when a series of slides posted on the unofficial Air Force Forum Facebook page displayed projected dates, budget proposals, and potential obstacles for a transition to OCP. The OCP uniform is already required for airmen deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as for members of the Air Force Global Strike Command security forces.

The slides indicated a June announcement date and costs are compared between 24, 36, and 48-month transition periods. However, the announcement came nearly a month earlier, likely due to increased pressure from airmen.

ACU OCP Transition Timeline Cost Comparisons

"Our airmen have made it clear, with a resounding, 'Hey, we want to get into this uniform as soon as we possibly can,'" LaBrutta, the Air Force's Director of Military Force Management Policy, said in a May 9 interview at the Pentagon. "Downrange and in garrison, [airmen consistently reported] it's a better utility uniform than the ABU."

The three-year transition will cost the service about $237 million, LaBrutta said. This cost will be necessary to draw down inventory and dispose of old boots and uniforms. Based off a cost-analysis, the Air Force is expecting to break even after the upfront costs, post-transition. After switching to OCPs, airmen will no longer be maintaining both a garrison and combat uniform which will help to offset costs.

More than 100,000 Air Force members have already been wearing OCP or the equivalent A2CU OCP flight suit. In 2011, the Air Force replaced the airman battle uniform (ABU) with the OEF OCP (MultiCam) ABU for airmen deployed in Afghanistan. By 2015, deployed airmen were wearing OCP in combat zones.

The Air Force Strike Command (AFGSC) security forces also transitioned to OCP—first the OEF OCP then OCP when it's available—at three AFGSC bases: Minot AFB, North Dakota; Malmstrom AFB, Montana; and F.E. Warren AFB, Wyoming. Additionally, those in the 620th Ground Combat Training Squadron at Camp Guernsey, Wyoming, will soon be wearing OCP.

The AFGSC is responsible for conducting strategic nuclear deterrence. Until now its security forces have been outfitted in the digital Tiger Stripe ABU. The Air Force cites concealment issues as the reason for the switch-over.

"If you get in a firefight in the field and you're laying down fire, who are you going to see first? Obviously that guy [in ABUs,]" said Chief Master Sgt. Scott Daigneault, senior enlisted manager for the Force Improvement Program at AFGSC to Soldier Systems Daily. "The difference is almost night and day. Your eyes skim right over the guy in [MultiCam] OCP and zone in on the guy in ABUs. He just doesn't fit in in that [missile field] environment."

In February 2015, security forces Airmen began to gear up MultiCam uniforms and cold-weather gear. The uniforms, which have never been worn by missile field defenders before, got a positive reception.

"I think the new uniforms are really cool," said Airman Dean Fedrizzi, 790th Missile Security Forces Squadron Security Support Team to the AFGSC, "I wasn't excited at first, but now that I see them, I'm really psyched to get them."

While AFGSC Airmen are currently being outfitted in MultiCam, they also plan to update to OCP. After OCP hits military clothing stores in May, it will eventually update to OCP along with the Army. As for boots, the Air Force has made no move to transition from sage to coyote brown.

"We intend to transition with the OCP (Scorpion W2) as it becomes available. However, we will not conduct a full re-issue; we will replace items through attrition," said AFGSC spokesperson 1st Lt. Christopher Mesnard.

  • Former Air Force Chief Master Sergeant James Roy sporting the MultiCam uniform. Image via Air Force Times.

The New OCP Uniform Construction

A new camouflage pattern isn't the only uniform update. Many aspects of the uniform construction are changing as well. From new pockets to the removal of hook-and-loop (Velcro) closures, the ACU is getting a complete makeover.

"I'm very excited about the replacement for the ACU," SMA Chandler said in a virtual town meeting on January 9, 2015. "It's a much better uniform. It provides much better protection for you. We put a lot of thought into the design. I think you'll find it's a much better quality uniform than what you have today."

From new pockets to the removal of hook-and-loop (Velcro) closures, the ACU is getting a complete makeover. These changes were implemented with the release of the new OCP uniforms.

"The Army is making several design changes to the ACU in response to soldier inputs to make their uniform better and more functional," said Army Spokesperson William Layer.

  • Upper Sleeve Pocket'

    Upper Sleeve Pocket
    Now 1-inch longer with a zipper closure instead of a noisy Velcro closure for easy, silent access.

  • Elbows

    No more internal elbow pads and Velcro elbow patches. Both those characteristics were found useless in the field.

  • Collar

    Swaps a Mandarin style for a traditional fold-down collar.

  • Sleeve Pen Pocket

    Sleeve Pen Pocket
    Only two pen pockets instead of the usual three.

  • Waistband

    After complaints that the drawstring waistband looks unprofessional, they have been removed.

  • Cargo Pockets

    Cargo Pockets
    Removed cord-and-barrel lock on the cargo pocket in favor of button closures.

  • Lower-Leg Pocket

    Lower-Leg Pocket
    Instead of a Velcro closure, it now features a silent one-button closure.

  • Knees

    No more knee pads or patches.

Changes Approved by Army Uniform Board

1. The upper-sleeve pocket will feature a zipper closure instead of a Velcro closure for easier access. These new pockets will look similar to those found on combat shirts.

2. The upper-sleeve pocket will also now be at least 1 inch longer. Feedback on post-combat surveys showed that soldiers require roomier pockets and more room for patches.

3. The new uniforms will no longer offer internal elbow pads and Velcro elbow patches. Both those characteristics were found useless in the field and deemed a waste of money. However, one feature that will stay the same is the doubled fabric for extra reinforcement on the elbow area.

4. Say goodbye to the cord-and-barrel lock on the cargo pocket. It will no longer exist on the new uniforms.

5. Uniforms will no longer feature knee pads or patches. There will still be reinforced fabric in the knee area.

6. The lower-leg pocket has previously used a Velcro closure. From now on, it will feature a one-button closure instead.

7. The mandarin collar is no more. Instead, you'll see a traditional fold-down design.

8. Only two pen pockets instead of the usual three.

9. After complaint that the drawstrings on the uniform pants' waistband looks unprofessional, it was proposed they be removed from new pants.

Changes That Didn't Make the Cut

10. The Infrared (IR) Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) tag will be still be on the right sleeve but would have been removed from the left sleeve.

11. It was under discussion that lower-leg pockets will be removed completely.

Scorpion OCP ACU

Soldiers will get new boots to accompany the OCP uniform as well. Darker coyote brown boots will replace desert tan boots as the official standard-issue. Major military boot suppliers have already started directing the production of new boots that will comply. It's also expected that gloves will be in this same colorway. Not only will the darker colorway provide better concealment in a wide variety of environments, but it will also hide dirt and wear better than the current desert tan boots.

T-shirts will be also be slightly darker in a tan 499 color. As for all binding components of the uniform, such as loop and hook, thread, zippers, etc., these will also be in tan 499. This color is currently used for MultiCam uniforms.

  • Tan 499 Belt
  • Coyote Brown Boots

Images via Army Times

The Army also updated the Army combat shirt. The new version, known as Army Combat Shirt Type II, boasts more camouflage coverage on the sides and chest. Currently it's still made in OEF-CP. No word on when the Type II combat shirt will transition to OCP.

OCP Name Clarified

When Army officials announced that a new camouflage pattern had been selected and it was to be called Operational Camouflage Pattern (OCP), many were left baffled. The confusion stems from the fact that until this announcement, MultiCam was known as OCP.

In 2009, Congress ruled that the Department of Defense take immediate action to address Soldiers' concealment concerns regarding UCP. As a result, MultiCam was adopted as the Operation Enduring Freedom Camouflage pattern, also referred to as OEF-OCP or just simply OCP. This was later shortened to Operational Camouflage Pattern, also referred to by the acronym OCP.

However, from now on the Army's new camouflage selection, Scorpion W2, is the Operational Camouflage Pattern (OCP). Is your head spinning yet? In simple terms, MultiCam used to be the OCP, but now it's not. Scorpion W2 officially claims the title. In an attempt to avoid confusion, the Army has gone back to referring to MultiCam as OEF-CP.

Government Vs. Crye

MultiCam consistently tests better than other camouflage patterns on the market and has been a favorite of military professionals for years now. So why not select MultiCam as the official pattern? All signs point to financial reasons. In a statement to Military.com, Caleb Crye, owner of Crye Precision, says he believes the Army was hesitant to pay the "printing fees" associated with the pattern. Crye also says that Army officials tried to buy the rights to MultiCam but rejected Crye's figure of $25 million.

Allegedly, Crye Precision took the position that it owns the patent to OCP (Scorpion W2); the pattern was originally developed by the company in 2002 as part of the Army initiative known as Objective Force Warrior. The original Scorpion patent issued in 2004 indicates that the patent was issued to Caleb Crye.

However, in a statement to Soldier Systems Daily, William Layer of the Army Office of the Chief of Public Affairs claims, "The Army possesses appropriate rights to use the Operational Camouflage Pattern (OCP) on its uniforms and equipment."

On July 7, 2015, The U.S. Patent and Trade Office issued a Utility patent for OCP entitled "Camouflage for Garment Assembly" to the Secretary of the Army representing the United States of America.

This right only extends to the Army, not to the privately owned mills that print the Army's uniforms. When MultiCam was recommissioned for use by the Army in 2010, 11 printers were granted limited-use licenses from Crye to print the pattern. While the stipulations of these licenses are confidential, it's suspected that these contracts require that the printer does not print patterns that are visually similar to MultiCam. If this is the case, it would legally bind printers from printing the almost identical OCP. There is speculation that printing mills might be paying a royalty fee to Crye for printing OCP under government-awarded contracts in order to appease the company and avoid any legal trouble.

If this is true, these under-the-table royalty fees only offer a solution regarding fabric printed under a government contract for official field wear. In August of 2018, a fabric mill signed a contract with the U.S. government allowing the commercial sale of OCP. Speculation from industry experts is that the government held off on a commercial release due to pressure from Crye Precision. However, with the mandatory possession date for OCP quickly approaching paired with the high-demand for OCP uniforms, commercial availability is a necessity. With many fabric mills fearing legal action from Crye, it’s possible that both Crye and the government stand to earn royalties off the commercial sale of the pattern.

Despite that amendment, evidence suggests the Army never possessed the rights to use or alter the pattern. Soldier Systems posted the original proposal from Crye to Natick, the military research complex responsible for research and development of combat effectiveness, for work on the Scorpion project as a part of the Objective Force Warrior Program. In the proposal, Crye mentions multiple projects (including camouflage technologies) the brand had already been working on. While the language allows those technologies to be used as a part of the program, Crye makes it very clear that it would still possess full ownership of the aforementioned technologies.

When contacted, Crye Precision refused to comment regarding the Scorpion pattern.

Other Branches to Adopt Scorpion OCP?

By 2018, congressional language demands all military services should be wearing the same uniforms. The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal 2014 called for an end to service-specific camouflage patterns. The decision was sparked by congressional committee members' concerns that patterns weren't chosen with concealment in mind, but instead from a branding perspective.

The Army was set to declare a camouflage pattern in 2013, but held off after this development. The recent selection of a new OCP indicates the pattern will most likely be adopted by other services as well.

OCP Swatches

Strikingly similar to MultiCam, OCP (Scorpion W2) is made of beige, brown and green components but lacks the vertical elements found in MultiCam. Currently, there are only a few images of Scorpion OCP available to the public.

Images via Soldier Systems.

However, there are multiple images of the original Scorpion pattern developed as a part of the Objective Force Warrior program. How does Scorpion compare to other uniform patterns UCP and MultiCam? Take a look.

  • Universal

  • Scorpion

  • MultiCam

At a glance, MultiCam and Scorpion almost look like the same pattern. That's because both MultiCam and Scorpion OCP were developed from this original Scorpion pattern. So what sets the two apart? If you look closely, you'll notice MultiCam features additional beige and brown slugs as well as vertical elements meant to resemble grass and branches. In addition, MultiCam is a somewhat darker and sharper version of Scorpion.

  • Scorpion

  • Multicam (vertical elements circled)

Scorpion History

"Whatever we do, we're going to do in a fiscally responsible manner," said Col. Robert F. Mortlock, project manager for Soldier Protection and Individual Equipment, Program Executive Office Soldier - U.S. Army Website

Scorpion is not a new pattern. In fact, it's been around for more than a decade. Known as the predecessor to MultiCam, the pattern was developed in 2002 by Crye Precision as a part of the advanced technology demonstration project called Objective Force Warrior, later renamed Future Force Warrior.

Made up of green, brown and tan elements, Scorpion looks very similar to MultiCam. Why? Because it is. Crye created Scorpion under a military contract, potentially forfeiting all intellectual rights to the pattern. In order to capitalize on the hard work put into developing Scorpion, Crye made small adjustments to the pattern for trademark purposes to create MultiCam.

The variant chosen as the new OCP is known as Scorpion W2. Like MultiCam, it was developed and modified in 2009 from the original Scorpion pattern. The pattern still needs to be updated with IR technologies before it can be used for combat uniforms.

"Whatever we do, we're going to do in a fiscally responsible manner," said Col. Robert F. Mortlock, project manager for Soldier Protection and Individual Equipment, Program Executive Office Soldier

Camouflage Field Testing

In 2002, the Army began the Universal Camouflage Trials in order to choose a pattern for the new Army Combat Uniform. In 2004, it selected Universal Camouflage Pattern (UCP) as the official standard-issue pattern.

  • Soldiers wearing UCP.

"To really have confidence in being able to make a recommendation to senior leaders, we need to do field trials," says Col. William Cole, of Program Executive Office Soldier. "We are looking forward to getting out into the woods, into the deserts, into the transitional areas and having real Soldiers wear these uniforms and have real Soldiers observe them." - U.S. Army Website

The decision has been widely unpopular with Soldiers who claim the pattern yields poor results in most environments. The Army allegedly spent $5 billion on the controversial pattern. However, in a statement to Gizmodo, an anonymous Army official claimed that the amount is closer to several million dollars. The $5 billion statistic refers to uniforms purchased and worn, not to camouflage development.

Only a few years after selecting UCP, the Army began looking for a new design. In 2009, congress responded to soldier's concealment concerns by passing a bill requiring that the Department of Defense "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 began a four-phase research and testing process to find a new pattern. In the meantime, MultiCam was recommissioned, replacing UCP for troops deploying to the War in Afghanistan. The Army's extensive camouflage testing includes photo simulation and actual field tests designed to determine effectiveness.

  • Uniform field testing at Fort Bliss Training Center on Sept. 21, 2012. Image via Stars and Stripes

In 2012, the Army entered the final phase of camouflage testing by awarding contracts to five vendors: Atlantic Diving Supply Inc.; Brookwood Companies Inc.; Crye Precision LLC; Kryptek Inc.; and the U.S. Army Natick Soldier Research Development and Engineering Center.

"To really have confidence in being able to make a recommendation to senior leaders, we need to do field trials," says Col. William Cole, of Program Executive Office Soldier in a statement on the U.S. Army website. "We are looking forward to getting out into the woods, into the deserts, into the transitional areas and having real Soldiers wear these uniforms and have real Soldiers observe them."

Instead of looking for just one pattern to appease all situations as was the case with UCP, this time the Army is looking for a family of patterns. The three basic patterns will be a desert/arid environment pattern; a transitional/semi-arid pattern; and a woodlands pattern. It's rumored that the transitional pattern would be the standard uniform worn in garrison and that the present plan is to issue the OCIE (rucksacks, MOLLE gear, etc.) in this same transitional pattern. However, the Army has not confirmed this.

Currently, the Army is testing in order to settle on the "bookend" patterns to round out the family of camouflage the branch envisioned. Pictures indicate OCP (Scorpion W2), M81 Woodland and MARPAT Woodland are being tested at Fort Polk. It's also suspected that TA-50 is being tested.

This testing appears to be geared toward selecting a Woodland variant. A desert-variant bookend test allegedly featuring OCP, 3-color desert and MARPAT desert camouflage is also in progress, although there is no information available on it.

Something notable about these images is that sand T-shirts are worn along with olive mojave USMC-issued boots. This indicates that the coyote brown boots the Army has selected to accompany the new OCP uniforms will look similar.

There are no images of the M81 Woodland or OCP uniforms being tested, but Soldier Systems managed to secure an example of green PALS webbing paired with OCP MOLLE. There is no information on what this might mean for the new uniforms.


Wear-out date for digital tiger stripe ABU
Wear-out date for UCP ACUs, OEF-CP ACUs and desert tan boots
Exclusive release of OCP Uniforms at TacticalGear.com
Air Force begins transition to OCP
OCP becomes available commercially
Air Force announces move to OCP uniform
OCP (Scorpion W2) will be clothing bag issue for new accessions
Flame-retardant OCP (Scorpion W2) available for deploying units
Coyote Brown Boots available for sale
OCP (Scorpion W2) uniform available for sale at AAFEX Clothing Sales
U.S Army Soldiers wearing OCP (Scorpion W2) in Iraq
Air Force Global Strike Command adopts OCP
Army confirms OCP (Scorpion W2) selection
Military.com leaks Scorpion selection
Army awarded contracts to five vendors to provide fabric for camouflage testing
MultiCam ACU in field-use
MultiCam recommissioned by the U.S. Army
Phase I of the four-phase U.S. Army next-generation
camouflage procurement plan begins
ACU in Universal Camouflage pattern in field-use
MultiCam rates higher in official Army test against UCP
Army Combat Uniform (ACU) in the Universal Camouflage pattern
unveiled as BDU replacement for the Army
U.S. Army Universal Camouflage Trials
Scorpion developed for Objective Force Warrior Project.
MultiCam created shortly after.
Objective Force Warrior Project launched
Battle Dress Uniform (BDU) and Woodland Camouflage pattern adopted
as standard-issue by U.S. Armed Forces

Objective Force Warrior

Scorpion was developed under an Army contract as a part of its Objective Force Warrior program, later renamed Future Force Warrior. It was formed October 12, 1999, as a part of the Army's initiative to create an innovative, lightweight combat system.

The program was one of many soldier modernization projects started in the '90s. The intention was to take the most current technologies and conceptualize how to apply them in a way that would benefit Soldiers. Nanotechnology, powered exoskeletons and magnetorheological fluid (a fluid that greatly increases viscosity when subjected to a magnetic field) were all technologies the military believed could dramatically increase the effectiveness of Army forces.

Crye Precision, along with other firms, was tasked with redesigning clothing and armor to eliminate many of the issues that plagued Soldiers. Those included, but were not limited to, uniforms shrinking when washed; boot soles cracking after a few months use; and standard-issue shirts collecting sweat and not drying quickly.

Under this contract, Crye developed clothing and equipment prototypes unlike anything seen before. Crye's combat apparel was light, comfortable and easy to shed in an emergency. Four major military clothing and equipment innovations came from Crye's involvement with this project.

Combat shirts

This lightweight combat staple didn't exist until the Objective Force Warrior program. A moisture-wicking torso keeps Soldiers cool underneath armor while providing protection and concealment with camouflaged, reinforced duty sleeves.

  • Scorpion Camo History

Crye Armor Chassis

Crye Precision developed this advanced take on body armor. Specialized, ergonomically engineered armor plates offer increased mobility to the wearer. The style still influences key players in armor design.

Close-fitting Modular Combat Helmets

Troops consistently complained that ill-fitting, bulky helmets caused head and neck pain. Objective Force Warrior set out to solve this. Although the helmets produced in this program lack the state-of-the-art design we see today, they paved the way for current high-tech styles that feature a close-to-the-head contour. Crye Precision's AirFrame combat helmet is a perfect example of a product developed from the foundation Objective Force Warrior provided.

Scorpion / MultiCam pattern

Crye precision developed the Scorpion pattern under this contract. Afterwards, Crye Precision tweaked the Scorpion for commercial-use, creating the massively successful MultiCam pattern. As well as achieving great results in camouflage testing, MultiCam was chosen for use in Afghanistan as the Operation Enduring Freedom Camouflage pattern (OEF OCP).

  • Scorpion ACU Soldier

About Crye Precision

Crye Precision, originally Crye Associates, started in 2000 as a small design firm based out of New York. The company achieved notoriety when it won a contract to participate in the Objective Force Warrior project (later referred to as Future Force Warrior.) Its task was to design innovative apparel, equipment and systems in order to overhaul the way combat Soldiers gear up.

  • Crye Precision

Crye Precision created Scorpion under the Objective Force Warrior contract and afterwards tweaked the pattern to develop MultiCam, a commercially available pattern that consistently achieves good results in government camouflage testing. The company now makes a wide range of commercially available military apparel, armor and equipment.

  • Iowa National Guard wearing MultiCamIowa National Guard wearing MultiCam (left) and UCP (right)

Key Players

With commercial licenses available for OCP, who will be manufacturing the new garments? We've got the lowdown on the current key players in the uniform industry.


Propper was established in 1967 by William T. Propper, an entrepreneur with a passion for manufacturing processes. Since then, Propper has manufactured more than 130 million uniforms for the U.S. Department of Defense, including garments for the Air Force, Navy, Marines, Coast Guard, Special Forces and the Army.

Currently, Propper doesn't have a prime contract with the Army for its combat uniform although the company does participate as a sub-contractor for nonsewing activities on an ACU contract. However, the demand for uniforms that a new pattern would create might give the brand a chance at one. A spokesperson for Propper says it's possible the company will be awarded a contract for the new uniform.


Atlanco has been supplying the military with uniforms for more than 50 years. The company was founded by the Zaglin family in 1950 as a small military surplus. Still under the Zaglin family leadership, the company continues to be leading military supplier. In addition, Atlanco is behind Tru-Spec and 24-7 Series, sub-brands that provide commercial gear to military and tactical professionals.

The brand says it has no plans to go after a military contract for uniforms. However, Tru-Spec does manufacture OCP uniforms for the commercial market.

Additional Resources: