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21st Century Camo Uniforms – the rest of the world

The ongoing American and British camouflage programmes have been getting lots of attention, but many other countries have been also changing / upgrading their camouflage uniforms in the early part of the 21st Century. 

The first big new development was when the Canadians introduced the world to the CADPAT pixelated camouflage pattern, and in effect re-wrote the rule book of camouflage pattern design.  Then the US Marine Corps adopted a completely new style of Combat and Utility Uniform that started an irreversible fashion trend – especially once the US Army adopted a broadly similar style in the ACU, which was then copied around the rest of the world as well. 

Interestingly, although Crye Precision really stirred things up with their radically re-styled combat clothing designs and multi-terrain “MultiCam” camouflage pattern, they’ve not had the wide-ranging impact on the uniform designs of the rest of the world that CADPAT / MARPAT and the MCCUU have had.

Other big influences on the introduction of new camo uniforms have been the ongoing operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.  As a result, there have been a whole lot of new desert camouflage patterns put in to service by European countries that don’t have any deserts on their home turf.

Worthy of a special note are the Russians.  Their military and para-military forces have been seen wearing a very wide range of new uniforms and camouflage patterns in recent years – this has led a lot of people to debate about what is “authentic issue” and what’s simply commercial.  The answer is that there is not such a clear line between the two – especially for special operations units, who can augment their “official issue” kit and clothing with privately (or unit purchased) items; particularly camouflage uniforms better suited to the types of operations they perform and the terrain where they operate.What’s also especially interesting about the new Russian camo patterns is that several of them are based on revamped versions of WWII camouflage patterns – and in the case of the reversible “Chimera” uniform, even of the Waffen SS! Looking at all the developments around the world there are some other interesting points to note as well though:   First of all, the sheer scale of activity in this field over the past few years is quite interesting.  I’ve been a student of camouflage combat uniforms for probably something like 30 years now, and have never seen so much activity or as many new developments as have been happening in the last few years. But its not just about “pretty new uniforms”, what’s really cool is how the individual soldier is now more and more being rightfully treated as an integrated, multi-purpose, system and is being given a full range of modernised, focussed, mission-adaptable kit accordingly.  Its nice to see the “cannon fodder” and “bullet catcher” days of the “poor bloody infantry” being consigned to the pages of history at last. Secondly, “digital” has clearly become a global craze – and whilst there are many patterns that are simply re-coloured copies of CADPAT, there are also quite a few that are more interesting and innovative. And some which don’t even merit the term.  In the cases of Kazahkstan and Lebanon, they’ve already adopted patterns that are very similar to the US Army’s UCP-Delta pattern now being tested in Afghanistan.Thirdly, its interesting to note that only the Latvian Army has followed the US Army’s lead and adopted a single “universal” camouflage pattern – but the Saab-Barracuda designed Latvian “Legoflage” is probably a more effective pattern than UCP.  In every other case, countries have chosen the more traditional route of different colourations for different environments.On the other hand, the French have completely updated the style and features of their combat uniform – but retained the standard CCE camouflage pattern.Finally, I’ve only included uniforms that are actually being produced and used, even if just in field trials, by military forces.  I’ve not included any that are purely commercial ventures, or that only exist as a design or computer simulation.  I also realise that this article will out-of-date 5 minutes after I publish it, so I’ll be coming back from time to time to keep it up-to-date.Right, with all that in mind, let’s hit the road for the Strike-Hold! Camouflage World Tour…AFGHANISTANArmy   Border Patrol AUSTRALIAArmy / Air Force Navy AUSTRIA Kampanzug 03 (official Austrian Bundesheer photos)  trial camouflage patterns (woodland pattern photo courtesy of Philip Thum) BOSNIA  BULGARIA Air Force CHILEAir Force Special Operations Forces Army Special Operations Forces Marine Infantry  CHINA COLUMBIA CROATIA

 CZECH REPUBLIC ECUADOR  ESTONIA  FINLAND  FRANCEFELIN Trials UniformNew Combat Uniform  Mountain Troops Snow Camo GERMANYFlecktarn 2005 SF trial pattern GREECE HUNGARY JORDANArmy / Air Force (left), Royal Guards (right)Civil Defence CustomsPublic Security Directorate Navy (left), Special Forces (right) IRAN IRAQPolice ArmySpecial Forces ITALYArmy Naval Special Forces San Marco BrigadeMountain Troops GOI (Gruppo Operativo Incursori) KAZAHKSTAN KOREA (South)

 LATVIA

 

  LEBANONAirborne forces (photos courtesy of “Masss1″)

  SEALs (photos sent in by “Zaher”) Special Forces (photo sent in by “Zaher”) LITHUANIA MACEDONIA MEXICO ArmyNavy / Marines Police MONTENEGRO NETHERLANDStrial patterns NORWAY  PAKISTAN    PAPUA-NEW GUINEA (trial patterns)photos courtesy of Brad Turner – roggenwolf.com PERU PHILLIPINESArmyMarinesNavyNational Police Special Action Force POLANDSpecial Forces PORTUGAL RUSSIAArmyBorder GuardsSpecial Operations Forces  Airborne forces  GRU – VDV 45th Detached Recon Regiment (thanks to Johannes for these photos) FSB Alpha GroupSERBIA M10 digital camouflageSINGAPORE SLOVAKIA SLOVENIA  SPAINnew patterns SWITZERLAND  THAILAND TURKEY UKRAINESpecial Forces Airborne Forces

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 A special thanks to the members of MilitaryPhotos.net and the International Camouflage Uniform Society – too many to remember and mention by name – for providing such a rich source of up-to-date information.  And a very special note of thanks to Brad Turner and his excellent site Kamouflage.netits well worth a visit.

44 Comments

  1. Aaron Chiong, Singapore

    July 30, 2012 at 3:42 AM

    Wow! u done a great job getting all the pictures. Will certainly use your website as a reference in addition to Eric Larson’s Camopedia. Just some additional info for your Singapore section – our armed forces deployed in the Iraq/Afganistan uses the US pixelated tiger stripes as well.

  2. Nice pics. But Czech soldiers o photo are wearing desert patern of standard camo.
    There is oficial info about Czech uniforms – http://www.acr.army.cz/vystroj/stejnokroje-a-pravidla-jejich-noseni-10983/
    Tip: Try Google Translate :-)
    Some czech soldiers here – http://www.mise.army.cz/assets/aktualni-mise/kosovo/zpravodajstvi/7_55.jpg

  3. Kindly provide any links and/or other information where these patterns can be purchased.

    • Strikehold

      October 7, 2011 at 1:40 PM

      Many of them, as far as I know are available for sale. You’ll just have to try to see where you can track them down.

  4. Where’s New Zealand? New Zealand has it’s own version of DPM, also used in by the Yemeni Forces. I think it’s crap, but surely worth a mention?BTW – I like the Croatian, Jordan and Phillipines camos – Nice versions!

    • I didn’t inlcude New Zealand becuase as far as I know they haven’t introduced a new uniform or pattern since 2001. This article is just about countries that have introduced a new uniform or pattern since 2001.

  5. Do any of these new camouflage uniforms make the wearer bullet proof? Spend money on armour and not on cloth. What are the Taliban wearing in the way of camouflage?

  6. wow!!!interasting I’m korean

  7. Well done putting this together! Brilliant job!

  8. i’m not a big fan of pixles..but niether am i ‘agin em’.i actually think that latvian ‘leggo flage’ is wild.logic would dictate that any pattern that is ‘effective’(lots of leeway there) is all that counts.but lets not forget that ‘fashion’(for lack of a better word) is also a factor(and i dont mean that in a negative way).national identity,politics, science,and ‘branding’(this is who we are as a nation and a military)are also factors…just as real and part of the equation as the practical matter of making your troops less visible(but never..alas..invisible).as an aside..those austrians…monochromatic uniforms?..talk about radical!..and they even look pretty sharp.who would have guessed?

  9. Why only showing one of Germanys camo uniforms and even this is not correctly i think? May KSK special forces use this camo smock? I haven’t seen this on normal infantry yet?GreetingsBlackhawx

    • Re-read the criteria for inclusion and you’ll see why. Also, note that this camo scheme is labelled as a “trial” pattern. Yuo won’t see it used by normal infantry, or anyone else, becuase it wasn’t adopted.Tschuess.

  10. Lovely pictures by the way!AFGHANISTANArmyQuite similar to PenCott, good in the green zone.Border PatrolUS Grey Choc ChipAUSTRALIAArmy / Air ForceToo spotty.AUSTRIA (trial patterns)I would like to see if they work.BULGARIALooks like a mixture of British DPM and US Woodland.CHINASimple digital camo.COLUMBIAQuite simple digital camo. The desert camo is pleasing to the eye.CROATIAI would like to see if they work.ECUADORBright MARPAT?ESTONIABit like CADPAT? The desert camo looks nice.FRANCEFELIN Trials UniformI have a felin that won’t work very well!GERMANY (SF trial pattern)The dark areas are much smaller than on Desert Flecktarn. I would like to see the woodland version.IRAQArmyUCP/MARPAT? I like the multi terrain version.Special ForcesUS Woodland with desert colours, very disruptive.KAZAHKSTANUCP with green instead of grey. Is Nice!KOREA (South)Very similar to MARPAT.LATVIAPixel size, too large. What do you think?MACEDONIAI would like to see if they work.MEXICOI would like to see if they work.NETHERLANDStrial patternsI really love the look of the green and grey pattern.PAPUA-NEW GUINEA (trial patterns)Wet season and dry season. Or lowlands and highlands? The green pattern looks a too bright. Look good though (Gut pella).PERULooks like an aerial photo of a mountains or hills.PHILLIPINESI would like to see if they work.POLANDSpecial ForcesMulticam?PORTUGALDPM? Yes DPM.RUSSIAThe first two look quite nice.Yes, just copy other countries camo.SERBIAI would like to see if they work.SLOVAKIALike MARPAT with larger pixels.SLOVENIAThe top right pattern works in that picture.SPAINtrial patternsI would like to see if they work.The last one is digital ERDL.THAILANDProbably a digital version of the ERDL style pattern I saw them wearing last year.UKRAINESpecial ForcesLooks like German and Danish Flecktarn.

    • What do you mean Australia’s too spotty? Just because it’s “spotty” doesn’t mean it’s not highly effective

  11. the german special forces smock seems like a flecktarny variant of CADPAT AR, the colours are identical…..and the spanish trial patterns are clearly a multicam pattern rip off.dutch trial looks like a digital flecktarn.

  12. I love you for compiling this………but not in a gay way.

  13. The Latvian camo is pretty cool, interesting pixel size

  14. The combat uniform worn by the armed forces of Peru looks like an improved version of the U.S. Army ACU (which I like to refer to as WRE/Walking Ridiculous Embarassments; they can also be referred to as WSBT/Walking Sniper’s Billboard Target because of the so-called UCP). The chest pockets are lower but the flaps need to be bigger, so the velcro can be more secure. Bringing back cargo pockets on the shirt would make this combat uniform even more functional.Some of the uniform designs from abroad appear to be a better design(with room for improvement) than the U.S. Army ACU (which I like to refer to as WRE/Walking Ridiculous Embarassments; they can also be referred to as WSBT/Walking Sniper’s Billboard Target because of the so-called UCP).

  15. i am amazed that those who scream about there being no ‘black’ in nature(tell that to crows,cows,penguins,etc.) or no straight lines in nature(there is nothing ‘natural’ about a battle field),dont scream about ‘pixles’. unless we have all been living on ‘planet lego’..i havent seen too many trees or jungles or sandunes made from cubes.’monkee see(canadians do) monkee do.but…this is still a great round up of camo..a print version would go great with my copy of hardy blechmans DPM volumes.thanks for the work.

  16. Kazakhstan camo. Is Nice!

  17. PNG camo. Em now, gut pella!

  18. The peruvian camo looks cleverly 3-D.

  19. austrian and croatian are very nice, chinese no longer look like this though.

  20. never saw the digital camo being worn by the philippine navy.

  21. Wow! Great selection of pics. Thanks for posting! I really enjoyed taking a gander at some of the different patterns. Nice to see the rest of the world is getting up to speed on current camo trends.

  22. Starbuck over at “Wings Over Iraq” has posted a nice story related to this article: http://wingsoveriraq.blogspot.com/2010/02/on-uniforms-again.htmlCheers dude! ;-)

  23. Good.Jordan PSD and Croatia Army paterns are interesting.

  24. Excellent overview. Just wish we could get a lot of those patterns here in the US (and could get rid of ACUpat) . . .

  25. About the spanis uniform the last update is that the definitive pattern is the pixelated desert pattern (third photo)This photo has been taken by a member of the spanish brileg there are some weeks ago before his unit was deployed in afghanistan

  26. great post. im proud owner of new croatian camo, but urban is not out yet…

  27. Nice post, I’m loving the new uniforms.Take a look at this pic: http://img9.abload.de/img/forum160255s5l.jpgShows that CADPAT,MARPAT,ACU and the like are the same pattern just diffrent colours. Something I did not know.

  28. No Australian patterns! Shame! :P Seriously though you should chuck some up

    • True – the Navy pattern certainly fits the timeframe, and I think the desert pattern does as well. Thanks for the reminder.

      • The latest version of DPDU will fit. Whilst the DPCU pattern hasn’t change, the actual garments have. Also, there are now commercially availiable variation such as Platatac’s digital version and Sord’s police version

  29. nice pics… a lot more to collect in the future !!!

  30. See? I said the article would be out-of-date 5 minutes after I posted it! :-)I didn’t have / couldn’t find any confirmed pictures of Russian military personnel (as opposed to FSB or MVD) wearing Yeger or Izlom, so I didn’t include them. If you have some to send through then I’ll be happy to add them.Spasiba.

  31. Russian guys in Multicam are FSB Spetsgruppa Alfa at the MACKS air show. THey’ve used Multicam for a while, there’s even video footage on rutube of them ni combat with it on. Will see if I can find it again. Also, several of those camouflages are way old, used since second chechen war, also some are missing, like the jeger and izlom camos used by airborne troops.

  32. Looks interesting…The afghan and austrian patterns remember me of Pencott, though.I got hold of the Iraqi SF Pattern (full Set), if you want to have a look, drop me a line, I still hope to meet you next month :)Cheers,Walter

  33. Hey Dom,My thinking was;a. has to be post-2001/2002b. has to be a new uniform – not just a new camo patternc. has to be in use – or at least in trials for used. anything which is simply a commercial copy, or just a computer sim, wasn’t includedTa.

  34. Wow, Lawrence – good work! Lot’s there – what was your criteria for selection (clearly not just ‘digital’)? If it was date, what would you consider too early for inclusion, and when does a simple re-jigging of the colours become a new pattern (e.g. German SF desert, Portuguese desert DPM)?

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