New MTP camouflage arrives in Afghanistan

Source:  UK MoD news release

British military personnel in Afghanistan have started wearing uniforms bearing the first new camouflage design in over 40 years.

The new Multi-Terrain Pattern (MTP) camouflage was unveiled in December last year and began to be worn by soldiers in Afghanistan in April 2010. It will be issued to all military personnel by 2012.

A soldier of C Squadron, Royal Dragoon Guards on patrol in the area of Gorup-e Shalsh Kalay, near Checkpoint Shamal Storrai.

The camouflage is intended to help British troops blend into Afghanistan’s varied terrain.  

It was trialled in laboratory tests and field evaluations to assess overall performance, with pilot trials held before the final testing. This included aerial and scientific photography to provide the right colours and brightness for the new camouflage pattern.

Colours were fed into a computer and computer modelling was used to represent the Green Zone, deserts and mixed environments in Afghanistan. A number of camouflage samples were then generated based on the colours found in Afghanistan and via the computer modelling trials.

The new MTP camouflage will work across different terrains in Helmand province, such as compounds, grassland, crops and woodland – all the areas our troops encounter on patrol.

A section of soldiers from C Squadron, Royal Dragoon Guards on patrol in the area southof Gorup-e Shalsh Kalay, near Checkpoint Shamal Storrai.

Members of the Royal Dragoon Guards are among the first to be issued with the new pattern.

Sergeant Luke Cunningham said:

“I was in Afghanistan in 2008 and so I have worn both Combat 95 and Multi-Terrain Pattern camouflage on operations.
“The new camo is definitely better for the conditions we face in the Green Zone of Helmand. It’s more comfortable and it is superior in terms of the operations we’re undertaking.”
It is the first time since 1968 that the British Armed Forces have changed the camouflage pattern.

Colonel Stephen James, Project Team Leader for the Defence Equipment and Support Clothing Team, who was responsible for delivering the new pattern, said:

“We have presented the new designs to the US Department of Defense and, following our recommendations, the US Army are about to adopt the same technology for their uniform in Afghanistan.”

Samples of the MTP camouflage were tested in the UK, Cyprus, Kenya and Afghanistan by the Infantry Trials Unit.

The new uniform is part of the MOD’s ongoing programme of work to provide the best possible equipment and support to the front line.

[Pictures: Corporal Barry Lloyd RLC, Crown Copyright/MOD 2010]


Editorial Footnote:

Interesting bit of propaganda going on in this release from the MoD – even apart from the self-promotion of the final sentence.  First of all, we all know that the uniforms are already being used in Afghanistan – remember the pictures of the Royal Marine Commandos? – so why wait until one of the Guards Regiments starts using it to make the official announcement? 

Secondly, I really had to chuckle over the implied claim by Colonel James that the British selection of MTP has influenced the American decision “to adopt the same technology” for their uniform in Afghanistan.  Uh – just to remind you Sir, your pattern is a derivative of an American pattern (i.e., MultiCam) which has been in use and proven effective already for several years by US and Coalition special operations forces.


Apparently, according to one of our readers, the MoD waited until now to make the official announcement becuase this is the first time that an entire Battalion has been kitted out with the new uniform.  Okay, fair enough – but it seems like hair-splitting to me.

Whatever, the important thing is that the troops are finally receiving a uniform with a better camouflage pattern – regardless of the politics.

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