Updated on April 15, 2015
New Army Combat Uniform by 2015
The Army Combat Uniform (ACU) is in the process of being reinvented with several design updates. Shortly after announcing a new camouflage pattern for the ACU, the Army released a list of improvements being made to the pants-and-coat combination.
The current Universal Camouflage Pattern (UCP) ACU hasn’t changed since it’s unveiling in 2004. On July 31, the Army released an official statement announcing that a new camouflage pattern, known as Scorpion W2, will be named the Operational Camouflage Pattern (OCP) and thus replace UCP as the official ACU pattern. News of further changes to the OCP ACU followed shortly after.
“The Army is making several design changes to the ACU in response to soldier inputs to make their uniform better and more functional,” said William Layer of the Army Office of the Chief of Public Affairs (OCPA).
Beyond a new camo pattern, the Army has confirmed that six changes have been approved by the Army Uniform Board while five decisions are still pending.
1. Upper-sleeve pockets will close with a zipper instead of hook-and-loop, similar to the pockets on combat shirts.
2. Soldier feedback on post-combat surveys showed the need for roomier pockets. As a result, the upper-sleeve pocket will be at least an inch longer.
3. Internal elbow pads and hook-and-loop elbow patches will no longer be featured on the ACU.
4. The new ACUs no longer offer cord-and-barrel locks on the cargo pocket.
5. Also eliminated from the new design are knee pads and patches although this area will still be reinforced.
6. The current design uses a Velcro closure, but the new design boasts a one-button closure.
Changes Pending Approval
7. The mandarin collar could be replaced with a traditional fold-down design, reminiscent of the legendary Battle Dress Uniform (BDU).
8. The Infrared (IR) Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) tag could be removed from the left sleeve although it will remain on the right sleeve.
9. The Army received feedback that the drawstring waistband looked unprofessional, so it could be completely eliminated from the new ACU pants.
10. Pen-pockets could be down three to two.
11. Chances are the lower leg pockets will no longer be a feature on the new ACU.
New boots will accompany the ACU as well. Layer revealed Army boots will be produced in “coyote brown (coyote 498.)” Coyote brown boots will probably look similar to olive mojave marine boots.
The first OCP ACUs are scheduled to hit military stores in the summer of 2015, but it will most likely be more than a year before they’re considered mandatory.
What do you think of the new ACU design? Leave your comments below.