Even the United States military isn’t immune to makeovers, albeit this one is more practical than fashionable.
Specifically, it’s the Army Combat Uniform that will be made over, with a new camouflage pattern. The changes are also slated to include boots, a new belt, and undershirts.
Expected to debut this summer, the new personal gear sports a darker shade in order to better conform with the new Operational Camouflage Pattern. The current, lighter colors of the drab gray Universal Camouflage Pattern provide too harsh of a contrast to the new pattern, with would be neither fashion-forward or practical for military purposes.
Perhaps the most noticeable change would be the replacement of the standard Desert Tan boots to Coyote Brown 498. The darker shade blends better with a wider variety of environments, according to Program Executive Office Soldier (PEO), which is the Army organization assigned to testing and providing soliders with uniforms and gear. Also, Coyote Brown 498 conceals dirt and wear and tear far better than today’s standard tan boots.
“In terms of hunting camo attire, there are always companies such as Real Tree and Mossy Oak that come out with new patterns and colors every two or three years, then the older patterns are phased out,” says Judy Babiasz, Marketing Coordinator at Just Camo. “These days, the brighter camo colors are strictly for looks, which will continue to be a major fashion trend.”
Both the t-shirt and belt worn under the combat uniform will change from Desert Tan colors to Tan 499, a slightly darker shade which better complements the new pattern.
It remains unclear how the old boots, belts, shirts, and gear will be phased out. In addition, it’s uncertain whether soldiers stationed at a military post will have the option of wearing the old Desert Tan boots and shirts until they are worn out.
To save on costs, the Army is exhausting the supply of the Universal Camouflage Pattern, even after the new pattern’s summer debut. However, the Universal Camouflage Pattern will be during training and on post, not for operations.
The inferior greenish-gray digitized pattern quickly fell out of favor when compared to other camouflage patterns, particularly in Afghanistan.
The Army also plans to announce new jungle and desert camouflage varieties in the near future.