The Riddle of AOR Camo Solved
After months – if not years – of speculation and rumour, it seems that we at last have resolution to the questions of what AOR camouflage is and who will wear it. I’ve seen several different names and descriptions pop up for AOR camo during this time – such as “digi2”, “MARPAT II”, “digi-MultiCam”, etc. – and any time a photo of s spec ops operator appeared wearing any kind of unusual camo, it was immediately suggested that he was wearing “AOR”.
People had also suggested that it was some kind of secret, high-speed camo designed by Crye Precision and would only be used on their clothing and gear sold to US SOCOM. Finally it was even reported – either prematurely or inaccurately – that AOR 1 and AOR 2 were going to be officially adopted by US SOCOM as an alternative to UCP, MARPAT, NAVPAT and Air Force TigerStripe.
Well, it turns out that the truth – as usual – is less sensational.
So, first of all, exactly what does “AOR” stand for, and what is the pattern? AOR stands for “Area Of Responsibility” – in this case meaning either desert / arid terrain regions (AOR 1), or temperate / tropical forested terrain regions (AOR 2). And the pattern is the same digital pixelated pattern used for the NWU, MARPAT, UCP (ACU) and CADPAT camouflage patterns.
Many people who’ve now seen AOR 1 and AOR 2 have mistakenly thought that they are simply MARPAT with the EGA logo element removed. Well, the AOR patterns do look very very similar to MARPAT, but as you can see from the images below, the colours are in fact slightly different.
Perhaps most surprising of all, it turns out that the AOR patterns are not even an “improvement” upon, or a “GenII” version of MARPAT. Information recently posted on Soldier Systems Daily shows that AOR 2 is in fact an earlier colouration for MARPAT that was rejected by the USMC!
So, that’s the pattern sorted – now who’s actually going to wear it? Again, the answer was a bit of a surprise. It turns out that it won’t be adopted as the standard camo for all of US SOCOM; instead, it will only be used by the US Navy – and Naval Special Warfare personnel in particular.
The final pieces of the puzzle are that the AOR patterns will be slightly altered by the inclusion of the Navy’s Anchor-Constitution-Eagle logo, and they will now be part of the Navy Working Uniform system:
- NWU Type I – blue-grey digital camouflage pattern
- NWU Type II – desert colours digital camouflage pattern
- NWU Type III – woodland colours digital camouflage pattern
But wait there’s more! In a particularly convoluted twist of logic, the USN has decided that any authorised Navy personnel engaged in shore-based operations in temperate or tropical regions can wear the NWU Type III (AOR 2) pattern uniforms. BUT, only NSW personnel will be authorised to wear the desert NWU Type II (AOR 1) pattern uniform – all other non-NSW personnel will continue to wear the 3-color DCU.
So, am I the only one who thinks this is more about “fashion” than it is about camouflage?