ADS Inc., recently released its entry into the Army's Camouflage Improvement Program, but it doesn't seem likely that we will see all the players in the competition until much later in the game. Kit Up!, Soldier Systems Daily and Army Times have been beating our heads against the Army's door for a look at all of the patterns the service selected for further testing as part of the final phase of the camo improvement program. PEO Soldier has decided it doesn't have the legal authority to release the five patterns.
The Army is letting the individual companies decide whether they want to unveil their patterns. So far, the ADS Transitional A pattern and Kryptek Inc.'s Highlander pattern are the only contenders to come out of the shadows. Crye Precision LLC, the company that created MultiCam, was also selected as a finalist, but the company is keeping its new pattern hidden for now. The one government pattern selected was developed by Army scientists at Natick, but service officials still haven't released it.
The Army launched the camouflage effort in response to a June-2009 inquiry by Pennsylvania's Democratic Rep. John Murtha, who was then chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense. Before he died in February 2010, Murtha pushed the service to look for a better camouflage pattern after receiving complaints from sergeants about the Army Universal Camouflage Pattern's poor performance in the warzone. The Army ended up selecting MultiCam to replace the UCP in Afghanistan in early 2010.
The Army is scheduled to evaluate the finalist patterns in field trials that will likely last until spring 2013. But with defense spending on a steep decline, it seems hard to believe the service will shell out the money for new camouflage uniforms.