This is Part 2
Part 3: Why not just use MARPAT?
Part 4: Why US4CES?
(Vancouver, B.C. May 30, 2013) In January 2012, four companies and one U.S. Government pattern were announced for the down select in the U.S. Army’s Phase IV Camouflage Improvement Effort, (the US4CES patterns I developed for ADS Inc. is one of the four camouflage families that was down-selected for the finals), then in early March the Army announced it was removing the Government Family.
"On Jan. 10th, the Army announced that families of camouflage patterns from one government team and four commercial vendors were selected to proceed into the next step of evaluations. As part of a cost savings strategy and as a result of initial assessments, the government submission is being removed from further consideration as a replacement to the universal camouflage pattern. This decision has been made in light of the similarity between elements of the government and one industry submission and the higher score of the industry submission during the initial evaluation..." (1)
Later that day through some key sources, it was leaked that the Government pattern was in all likelihood their Scorpion Camouflage. (2)
What do we know about the U.S. Army Scorpion Camouflage, very little, but in today's internet age, even a little information can act like breadcrumbs leading us to a better understand as to why the Scorpion camouflage was removed.
The Scorpion Camouflage Pattern was developed under government contract by Crye Precision LLC. around 2002 which was later used for the U.S. Army Objective Force Warrior program (A Road Map for Soldier Systems development). If the pattern below looks familiar it is because Crye Precision also developed Multicam, which is very similar.
Then Scorpion is just Multicam?
No and Yes. It took me a while to see the differences but once I figured it (like solving a puzzle) then I could see the differences immediately
First, Multicam uses at least twice as many slugs (Light Beige and Dark Brown smaller Macro elements).
Second, Crye applied another mostly Vertical Layer representing branches throughout the new pattern.
Which brings us to recent studies. In 2008-2009 study when the U.S. Army (Natick) brought out two versions of the Scorpion pattern (Woodland Scorpion and Desert Scorpion) for testing against 15 other patterns including Multicam. (5)
Woodland Scorpion did not fair poorly but was not a standout in any of the environments.
Ironically when they changed the torso area representing PPE (Personal Protective Equipment - vests) to Multicam, the Woodland Scorpion pattern did better in all four environments, with a slightly better overall score than Universal-AOR.
The Desert Scorpion did not fair well at all and did not even crack the top 10 in Desert Environments
So here below, we have a comparison of Woodland and Desert Scorpion versus Multicam and we can see the having the correct color and PPE can make a substantial difference as I added the Multicam with Khaki PPE (next to the Multicam with matching PPE) to show how much of an effect this can have on the Multicam pattern.
Note: None of the Scorpion or Multicam patterns broke the top 10 for either the Woodland Environment or the Desert Environment, which is disappointing given specific coloration with the Scorpion Patterns into those two environments.
Why did the Army decide to go with Scorpion in the Phase IV effort? It preformed well enough overall to garner two of the top 10 spots in this test - one with matching PPE and one with Multicam PPE, outperforming both the Multibrush and Desert Brush pattern in overall effectiveness which was their (Army owned patterns) top contender in previous Natick testing.
U.S. Government was to put two camouflage families forward
Initially the Government was looking to put two of it's own families in the finals against three industry submissions but the Army decided after the initial 2011 Phase IV testing to only put one family forward. I would expect it was the All-Over-Brush pattern (also known as Multibrush and a Desert coloration Version known as Desert Brush), as Natick testing showed Desert Brush was beat Desert MARPAT in Desert Environments in their first test and then was beat by AOR-1 in the second test, so as good as it was, it was not good enough. Multibrush tied with AOR-2 in Mountain Environments in 4th place being beaten by Multicam, Universal-AOR and Woodland Scorpion. If the early Phase IV testing confirmed these results then the Brush pattern did not meet the baseline requirements to move forward. Thus one of the industry families made it into the finals due to the Army pulling one submission out at that time.
Phase IV - Three Colorations Required
For the U.S. Army Phase IV Camouflage Improvement Effort the focus was on a family of camouflage with three patterns meant for three specific environments; Woodland, Desert and Transitional
So Crye Precision LLC. (a finalist in the Phase IV program) needed to provide not just a pattern that would work in Transitional environments but also Woodland and Desert. Three of the four finalists released information on their pattern shortly after the January 2012 finalist selection, except for Crye, they have not yet released any information on their submission publicly. All finalists were invited out to an Army meeting where all the finalists' patterns were on display, so a couple of ADS Inc. people have seen the Crye submission. According to these two ADS Inc. people, Crye did not deviate much from Multicam, providing a Woodland Variant and a Desert Variant to go along with a very close - if not identical coloration for Multicam for transitional environments.
So the U.S. Government in 2009 had both a Woodland Scorpion and Desert Scorpion, for Phase IV they also provided a Transitional Scorpion.
And Crye who only had what seemed to be a Transitional pattern now needed to add both a Woodland and a Desert Coloration to make a family for the program (if they kept their Transitional the same as the current Multicam) .
So what can we now pull out of the U.S. Army statement below when the Army removed what is believed to be the Scorpion family:
the government submission is being removed from further consideration as a replacement to the universal camouflage pattern. This decision has been made in light of the similarity between elements of the government and one industry submission and the higher score of the industry submission during the initial evaluation..." (1)
Two factors came into play: Similarity of Scorpion pattern to Crye's submission and Crye outperforming the Scorpion pattern in the initial Phase IV testing in 2011 of all industry submissions.
So has there been any leaks on the Crye Woodland or Desert versions? Perhaps on their Desert submission.
A company called O.C. Tactical claimed on their Facebook page that they received material and gear in the Multicam Desert coloration (7)(8)
The name on the material recieved (see photo below) is from Crye Associates (connected to Crye Precision LLC, Crye Precision is the assembly wing of Crye Associates) with the official Crye Associates Logo and the pattern name "Multicam Pattern" which is a registered trademark of Crye printed on the side of the material.
Crye was shown photos from OC Tactical site through someone in the industry and Crye denied through that contact that this is theirs, however, the pattern is identical to Multicam - but recolored with the same color fading used in the Multicam pattern also present in this desert coloration. Someone went to a great deal of trouble to print both uniform weight material and Cordura (Gear) material - which are both quite expensive to produce in a limited run. Another hint is that the base color in the material desert is Tan 499, A color now used for any PPE gear on Multicam and the next brightest color in the pattern is Coyote - this was the solid color used for PPE on Multicam prior to the switch to Tan 499 from the U.S. military.
Desert Scorpion or Multicam Desert?
The fact that O.C. Tactical received this material with a number of other government test camouflage runs would either indicate that this is legitimate material used for testing by the government (Desert Scorpion) or this was a run endorsed by Crye for their own Desert version.
I would guess from the evidence that it is not the Desert Scorpion (Scorpion should not have the vertical elements - nor the identical amount of slugs) but is in fact a Crye Multicam Desert and is either from a special run for a Special Forces Desert requirement, a previous test pattern or it is their Arid/Desert submission for Phase IV.
UPDATE June 11, 2013: Soldier Systems states that this was not Crye's Desert submission but is just "Strike Off". A strike off is a short production run usually to test colors.
UPDATE June 3, 2013: U.S. Army submission (which was withdrawn) revealed.
The Government has revealed that their submission was not just the Scorpion pattern but they submitted three different geometries for each environment: a pixelated camouflage for Woodland, Desert All-Over-Brush for Arid/Desert and Scorpion for Transitional, see story here: http://soldiersystems.net/2013/06/03/us-army-camouflage-improvement-effort-update-the-withdrawn-army-family/
Given this new information I would guess the Government Woodland/Jungle submission was their Woodland Digital which ranked #1 in their Croppland/Woodland testing in their 2009 study - AOR2 came in second, Woodland MARPAT in Third and UCP-C came in fourth in this environment. All four patterns were digital pixelated.
The Multicam and Woodland Scorpion patterns dominated the Transitional (Mountain) environments however Universal AOR (digital pixelated) tied Multicam for first place
In Desert Brush (Desert All-Over-Brush) placed third in Sandy Desert environments in-between AOR1 (2nd place) and MARPAT (4th place). While the first place in Desert was Digital DCU we discussed in Part 1 that the colors in DCU are to bright in the NIR spectrum (Night Vision) so we expect this removed DCU and Digital DCU as a contender.
So while the Army wanted to use three different geometries their Desert submission puzzles me, with AOR1 and Digital DCU placing higher than Desert Brush in the 2009 tests, wouldn't you also attempt to provide a Digital pixelated pattern for Desert?
The Army is expected to announce the winning camouflage family on June 14, 2013 (the U.S. Army's Birthday)
Part 3: Why not just use MARPAT?
Part 4: Why US4CES?
5) SOLDIER CAMOUFLAGE FOR OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM (OEF): PATTERN-IN-PICTURE (PIP) TECHNIQUE FOR EXPEDIENT HUMAN-IN-THE –LOOP CAMOUFLAGE ASSESSMENT, U.S. Army Natick Soldier Center. http://www.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a532947.pdf
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