"we decided good camouflage for where you are might be better than perfect camouflage for somewhere else." - Crye Precision
Multi Terrain Pattern aka MTP has now been on general issue with the British Armed Forces for quite a few years and the story of how it came into being, how it became so badly needed, and also how it became on the most expensive Urgent Operational Requirements in the history of the British Armed Forces, replacing .
Let’s get one thing straight, "Multi Terrain Pattern" just like it’s so called Father "Multicam", is not perfect for all terrains around the world, the name may be a little misleading but the fact remains that it is a versatile and revolutionary Camouflage pattern that remains effective across a wide range of terrains and landscapes, including where British Forces are deployed as of 2013.
People will remember fondly the British Disruptive Pattern Material aka DPM which remains in widespread use with other forces around the world although has just about been phased out of service within the entire British Armed Forces, even Cadet Units, it will be remembered in two patterns; Desert and Woodland, and whilst both are very effective in their specific environments, a niche was quickly identified within Afghanistan that operations could be undertaken in all sorts of environments and one of then most infamous was the "Green Zone" in Afghanistan.
The story begins with the identification of a requirement for a camouflage pattern that would perform well over a range of landscapes and terrains, Afghanistan is and remains very much one of the places where one min you could be operating in desert and the next minute you could be in green woodland areas, also mountains and even Urban environments; you were very much waving a red flag at the enemy if you were wearing Desert DPM in the Green Zone or Woodland DPM in the desert.
Tests were conducted by the British "R&D" department and a range of existing camouflage patterns were trialled in multiple environments including not Afghanistan but Britain, Cyprus and Kenya, the tested patterns including not only current in-service but also 3rd party commercial patterns available.
The tested pattern which performed best across a wider range of environments rather than just one specific was the American company known as Crye’s Multicam, the tests included visual comparisons against different backgrounds etc how long it took to spot and feedback from the users on just how effective they were, and Multicam came on top as the most versatile
Multicam was taken on license from Crye by the MOD and further refined and enhanced to the British Forces requirements along the current "PECOC" programme at the time which was to further develop existing equipment currently on issue and also quickly identify new requirements.
The troops on the ground in the operations could wait indefinitely for new kit, it was an exciting concept at the time that their would be new stuff on issue but the kit at the time did the job, in fact it still would, the one requirement that could not wait was the requirement for a new camo pattern that would eventually come into being as "MTP".
The selected 7-colour scheme Multicam was quickly refined to fill the needs including Infra-Red Reflectivity but also changed and reshaped i.e blotches, patches in the colour scheme and changed around to make it similar to the style of DPM and thus "Multi Terrain Pattern" was born.
Existing Clothing and some examples of equipment were immediately manufactured with this new pattern and examples from the Urgent Operational Requirement exist, there are many examples of trousers and smocks in the older Soldier 95 cut in MTP.
Multi Terrain Pattern has the same colour palette as Multicam and thus look similar but to say they are the same would be a very misleading statement, the shapes differ and the blotches etc but they still work well alongside each other, many commercial brands have released equipment on sale in Crye’s IRR Multicam pattern and many examples have been seen on active use especially in Afghanistan were it was rushed to fill in the Urgent Operational Requirement for a new camo pattern.
Troops in Afghanistan were the first to be issued with the new MTP pattern in their clothing etc and some forms of equipment and it was quickly identified as a success for the mixture of fighting environments and a decision was made to have it on limited issue to areas where it was mostly needed including the "Green Zone" and than a decision was made to make it generally available to all and have DPM phased out eventually, from 2013 as noted earlier even Cadet Units are replacing their DPM uniforms where their budget requirements allow.
An announcement was made by the MOD that all forces deployed to Afghanistan would be issued from March 2010 and it would be more widely issued from 2011 and replacing all examples of the older Soldier 95 uniform with the newer PCS by 2013.
…And PCS! (Personal Clothing System)
During PECOC not only was the colour pattern of the kit itself changing but also the cut and features being added, mostly from ideas and innovations from the feedback from the troops themselves on the ground, changes were made etc and thus a whole new scheme of uniform was also born alongside MTP and it would be known as PCS, and it would be manufactured in the MTP pattern.
PCS makes up the following examples of kit:
PCS would become one of the most versatile and like MTP a revolution in the way our kit works in the British Forces, Soldier 95 philosophy was that based on the current temperature, you would remove or add layers as required, if you were too cold you would add a layer and vice versa if too cold you would add to.
PCS implemented new changes and innovations which make it not only versatile in its camo pattern but also in how it can be adjusted to operational environments, new improvements made include a feature on the new Smocks where vents in the smock can be opened up if the environment becomes too hot to release body temperature etc.
MTP PCS Combat Shirt: The Under Body Armour Shirt is a shirt that is worn under the currently issued Osprey MOLLE system, with the chest area implementing a wicking layer which can be adjusted to comfort by the user of a zipper and with pockets actually added to the sleeves themselves, the way unit identification was attached to the uniform has changed completely, Velcro panels on the pockets of the sleeves allow TRFs, ID badges, Blood Group, Unit Identification, DZ, and even morale patches to be attached and removed as required.
MTP PCS Combat Trousers: The map pockets on the trousers would now become angled approximate 45 degrees and the buttons would be concealed up a further flap to prevent snagging, the waist draw cord was removed, a zippable pocket was also added to left hand pocket and overall remains an excellent design, with the same amount of pockets from the previous S95 cut (5.)
MTP PCS Smock/Jacket: Like the Combat Shirt, pockets have been added to the sleeves with the same capability to "Velcro" on badges and patches as needed instead of painstakingly sewing them in, although Panels are available for those who prefer a more permanent attachment.
A compass specific pocket was added to the upper left chest pocket but can also be used to easily hold a multi-tool etc and hand warmer pockets have been implemented into the lower pockets of the jacket.
Zipper "Arm vents" have been added also under the arm pit areas to make the user more comfortable in the warmer areas and a mesh lining has been implemented into the inside of the smock to work alongside the vents and make it more comfortable to wear.
MVP "Gore-Tex" Jacket and Trousers: Moisture Vapour Permeable remains a technology similar to Gore-Tex in the way it remains waterproof as a breathable layer keeping moisture out.