From official MoD information:
UK Armed Forces will be issued with combat clothing in a new camouflage optimised for operations in Afghanistan and across a wide range of environments. It will be issued to all personnel deploying on Op HERRICK from March 2010 then issued more widely to the UK Armed Forces from 2011. NATO nations have been informed of the changes to ensure they can identify UK personnel.
REASON FOR CHANGE
Personnel in Afghanistan are operating across a wide range of environments – desert, woodland/jungle, compounds, crops, grassland and arid stone – frequently transiting from one environment to another throughout their patrols. They often move through several environments in the course of one operation. Existing camouflages are optimised for single environments. An Urgent Operational Requirement (UOR) was authorised in Apr 09 and a programme of research has taken place to compare in-service camouflages with newly developed patterns and Commercial off the Shelf (COTS) products. This new approach will provide the flexibility to meet differing requirements which environmental specific camouflages do not.
The existing camouflages were designed to be optimised for single environments. The woodland was optimised for NW Europe as this is where we expected to do most of our fighting when it was first designed. Likewise the Desert camouflage was designed in response to a UOR for operations in Kuwait and Iraq. These camouflages are still the best in those specific environments, but do not perform as effectively when a soldier moves from one environment to another.
The trials consisted of Defence Clothing Team and Dstl generated camouflages compared with in-service and commercially available camouflages. 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.
A variety of camouflages were compared. These included camouflages developed in house, and both in-service and commercially produced camouflages. Initial trials were conducted in Kenya, UK, Afghanistan and Cyprus to eliminate any obvious non-starters. Scientific assessment then took place measuring the performance of the various patterns across 10 different backgrounds. This included both objective and subjective testing. During the course of these assessments, 240 soldiers were consulted for their views. The clear winner was a commercial product, Crye Precision’s Multicam®. Crye’s Multicam pattern was found to be the best performing across the widest range of environments by a significant margin and was selected as the basis of the new UK Multi-Terrain pattern (MTP) camouflage.
MTP was developed by Crye Precision to combine the characteristics of the UK DPM pattern, whilst providing the same performance levels as Multicam. Therefore, MTP exploits a successful and recognised commercial product and is, as the name implies, a multi-terrain pattern that performs well across a wide range of environments. It is particularly effective in boundary areas such as tree-lines and areas of mixed vegetation. It is also effective in a variety of crops, urban and arid environments.
Operations. Personnel deploying to Afghanistan from Mar/Apr 2010 will receive most of their clothing and equipment in MTP in place of Desert DPM. There will be no change to the issue process. For much of 2010 and 2011 there will be some camouflage items on operations still in original desert colours because industrial lead times mean not all items can be provided to theatre at once. This also means that units returning from operations will revert to wearing current Woodland DPM uniform until MTP is fielded across the Front Line Commands.
Front Line Commands. MTP clothing will roll out across UK forces over 3 years in accordance with FLC Fielding Plans from Apr 11. The roll-out of MTP clothing (Fd Jkts, Shirts, Rank Slides and Trousers) will coincide with a change in clothing cut to provide coherence with new ballistic protection systems. Clothing will be task issued to whole units at once to avoid mixed dress. In addition, helmet and body armour covers and camouflage load carriage items will be replaced from early 2012 as part of the Personal Equipment and Common Operational Clothing (PECOC) Project, which will deliver an integrated personal equipment and clothing system designed to meet operational performance standards. Other camouflage items (such as waterproofs and CBRN suits) will be issued to new recruits and as a result of fair wear and tear only.
Interim Policy on Wear and Training in the UK. Until the roll out of MTP clothing from 2011, MTP clothing will only be issued to, and worn by, personnel deploying on Op HERRICK. It should not be worn in UK and other non-operational locations unless undergoing pre-deployment training and key demonstration events. MTP clothing will not be supported once units have returned from operations.
The main MTP clothing items will be task issued to complete units at a time over a 3-year fielding plan in order to avoid mixed dress within units. To manage stocks most effectively, some items will be superseded over a number of years and during the period of transition these items will be in use in both Woodland and MTP camouflage. As stocks of non-PECOC items (e.g. waterproofs and CBRN suits) in Woodland DPM are run down, they will be replaced by MTP versions. These will be issued to recruits as required and to others to replace fair wear and tear only.