Army Taps Scorpion to Replace UCP

2004072705bThe U.S. Army is going to dust off its old Scorpion pattern as a replacement for its much criticized Universal Camouflage Pattern.

I ran a story about the selection this morning on I have been told that Sgt. Major of the Army Raymond Chandler III is quietly telling all of the senior sergeant majors around the Army that the service’s new camouflage will be Scorpion — a pattern similar to MuliCam that was developed for the Objective Force Warrior program in 2002.

The Army has been considering replacing UCP with Crye Precision’s MultiCam — a pattern that has demonstrated consistent performance in multiple tests and was selected in 2010 for soldiers to wear in Afghanistan.

But Army officials balked at MultiCam’s price tag. They didn’t want to pay for “printing fees” the company receives on MultiCam — a small figure that amounts to about one percent of the 20-percent price hike uniform companies want to charge the Army for MultiCam, according to Caleb Crye, the owner of CP.

Army officials even tried to buy the rights to MultiCam. Crye told the Army it would cost $25 million if the service wanted to buy the rights to the pattern, which would essentially put Crye Precision out of business, he said.

So with that option off the table, the Army is now going to use Scorpion since the service has owned it for the past 12 years. The pattern is very similar to MultiCam because Crye developed for the OFW program.

MuliCam’s appearance is slightly different for trademark purposes.

There are images and a few swatches floating around the web, but it’s hard to tell what Scorpion will look like until its rolled out officially. And there’s no telling when that will be.

Look at the swatches of both patterns below. What do you think?

Here’s a swatch of Scorpion:











And here’s a swatch of MultiCam:












About the Author

Matthew Cox
Matthew Cox has been a defense reporter since 1998 and is an associate editor for He traveled to Afghanistan and Iraq numerous times from 2002 to 2008, covering infantry units in combat. Matthew was an infantryman in the 82nd Airborne Division.

92 Comments on "Army Taps Scorpion to Replace UCP"

  1. Looking at the two swatches you would think Scorpion was faded/sun bleached version of Multicam.

    • Bob's your uncle | May 23, 2014 at 6:20 pm | Reply

      Close, but there are differences. Think of Scorpion as Version 1.0 and MultiCam as Version 2.0. This page,, highlights the differences.

      Almost makes me want to quote the old saw: "Close enough for Government work," but you troops need the best that's out there. The government blew it when it turned down the effectively buy out Crye for chump change. They should have gone with a proven winner.

    • True, but vibrant colors stick out more. Add to that, there aren't too many places the majority of our different types of forces would go where brighter/more vibrant colors would actually blend in.

      • I second that. If anyone ever saw a formation that had both American troops in the old woodland BDUs and British troops in their equivalent pattern uniform (American woodland looks like a very faded set of the Brit pattern) it would be obvious.

    • The problem isn't the camouflage patterns. The biggest problem is the dirty cok$ucking politicians that are making money in this business on the side leaving the Soldiers, Sailers and Marines opinions out of the loop.

      Leave the f….. camouflage patterns up to the Troopers assholes. It's our assholes on the lines "Atleast those that are not afloat or flying" IMHO.

      "Politics… F…''n politics"

    • looks like faded woodland camo to me.they should go back to woodland camo, it worked still works .

  2. So the army owned it for 12 years then why did the idiots go with the ACU as camo since it didn't work!! What a waste of money and putting a big target on our soldiers since they were only camoed while laying on a gravel,driveway or standing against a concrete building of which few are in Afghanistan or Iraq!! Some one needs to go to jail over this waste of billions of dollars in uniforms and gear!

    • Yeah, like they have spent how much money on all this the last 4 or 5 years? And they had this all along?

    • I'm sure money was exchanged with a senior official somewhere in the process…

    • This will never happen as the Officer Corp always protects itself while making money-the only thing they know how to do………………………………………..Yes, the Sgt Majors all run surplus stores!

  3. Also why would,they buy the Crye Multicam when they had this pattern in the works?? Who is running this crap a total,idiot??!!

  4. Pete Sheppard | May 23, 2014 at 7:33 pm | Reply

    I would also like to finally see the person responsible for UCP identified at least. By now though, they are probably in some equivalent of the Witness Protection program.

  5. Be Happy!! We have a new smoke grenade in our arsenal and at last the troops will be clothed in more or less effective camo duds.

  6. Multicam appears to have much more depth and three deminsional compared to scorpion. In other words multicam is more effective. Since big army can't do it right, they chose the least superior of the options – what else do you expect? Could have been so much better in so many countless ways. I'm going to go read Col. John Boyd now…..

  7. We used BDU Woodland for over twenty years. Why not stick with that since we already own it. ACU was clearly a mistake, and while I think Multicam is very good, money is still a problem. I would rather return to BDU, and keep more soldiers in service, as opposed to reducing the size of the Army to go with a new pattern. Clothes don't protect this nation, boots on the ground do.

    • Clothes protect the boots on the ground, and the boots on the ground protect the nation. Newer and more effective uniforms are necessary and essential for modern warfare, your average BDU isn't going to prevent you from being detected from highly advanced night vision. The ACU wasn't a complete mistake IMO because it taught us a lot about camouflage. M81 camouflage just doesn't cut it anymore, but we still see it in the SOF community and are seeing old woodland stocks with BDUs being used in the Army Jungle school now, so it's not going anywhere, it's just not being fielded on a wide scale. Uniforms change, patterns change, needs change, warfare changes.

    • The same argument was made when the Military went from the old OD fatigues to the BDU. The Woodland pattern was good and I wont say it isn't effective because it does a decent enough job of providing concealment but it is by no means perfect. With everything we have learned about camouflage in the past decade or so we have found that black is not a naturally occurring color in nature and pattern that have black to them lose effectiveness because of that. That is why we are starting to see more and more weapons systems and other kit offered in FDE, Urban Grey, Ranger Green and other similar colors. I am sure within 10 years a company will develop a pattern that make Multicam look like as big a mistake as the old Chocolate chip deserts and UCP.

      • “Black is not a naturally occurring color in nature”?

        Spare us the bullshit out of the UCP camp. Ever seen a tiger or a zebra or a leopard?

    • Night Vision…

      "Both camouflage patterns used by the U.S. Military prior to 2001, the BDU (woodland) and DCU (desert) suffer from being overly bright in the NIR spectrum."

      • Though it should be possible to tweak the colors so it works against night vision.

        • Read the essay and look at the colors under NVGs. Not as easy as it seems or we would likely have done it already rather than hire Crye to develop Scorpion a decade ago.

          • But Scorpion has to be upgraded for NVD performance too, as written by SSD

          • Two more things: haven't 3-color-DCUs and woodland BDUs been used longer by the US Army than 2001? And other branches still use it, don't they?
            I do have an aircrew coat and trousers in woodland pattern, unfortunatelly I don't have any NVDs to check the performance.

          • Yes Scorpion could use some tweaking but even in its current form it's better than the old patterns. We will not always be fighting an enemy who isn't issued NVDs. Planning to fight the next war like the last one is a mistake we constantly make.

            If you go to the link I attached there are pictures of the old camo under NVDs.

            Woodland is not in use by the US except a very few special operations units and maybe the Army jungle school cadre.

            Yes BDU's and DCUs were used until '06-'07. I don't know what that has to do with the issue. We wore solid green uniforms for F A R longer.

          • Is has to do with the quote saying something about them being used prior to 2001.

    • Joe is right on the money. I served in the Army when the BDU's were the uniform and they looked good and held up to several washings and wears. You could wear the BDU's for more years that that ACU trash. We have the BDU's in storage and since jungle school is starting back up and they are wearing them- why not go to BDU's? I still have mine and my beloved field jackets and I wear them on occasion- you know what? They are still good to go and serviceable. They should go back to the BDU's with sew on patches- they sew the name tapes on the ACU's so why not? No wonder government says they are broke-too many jerks at the top with big salaries making decisions that put soldiers and civilians out of work.

      • There are no war stocks of woodland uniforms.

        Woodland uniforms have poor performance under NVDs. Look at the pictures. Times have changed. The next enemy we fight may be issuing NVDs.

        • And just how many NVGs do the Taliban — and the other people we are actually fighting — have?

          This is absolutely typical Big Army feature-creep bullshit. It’s why we have abortions like the PLGR and DAGR that are expensive and bulky and non-intuitive in use, while anyone with any sense uses a $100 Garmin that fits in a pocket. It’s why we still — more than a dozen years after the request for bids was issued — don’t have a cheap simple-to-use squad and platoon-level handheld radio.

          Muslim snipers aren’t killing American soldiers at 0330 with NVD-equipped sniper rifles. They’re lining up the plain old steel front sight posts of AKs against second-rate camouflage-patterned uniforms and gear that contrasts sharply against backgrounds. Might as well print scoring rings on the ACUs.

          Bring back the 3-color DBU in 100% cotton, and use our bloated logistics system to push plenty of them out to the troops instead of vegan MREs or a dozen flavors of energy drink. And stop sewing everyone’s 201 file on their uniform. Save that silliness for the Class As. Name, service, a US flag and rank. If someone needs to know more about a soldier, he can ask if it’s any of his business.

          • The Russians, Chinese & Iranians have NVDs as well as the guys they supply like the Syrians, Pakistanis and Hezbollah (not even talking about all the captured stuff Libyan and ISIS terrorists stole out of US supplied armories).

            Afghanistan and the Taliban aren't the only people we will fight in the future and we have been issuing multicam to troops going there for over five years.

            Taking a step backward adopting woodland and DCUs just doesn't realize the realities out there and instead wishes for the bygone days. Let's start issuing M1 Garands while we are at it.

  8. Any discussion of cost savings is absolutely ludicrous. Who owns the pattern has no bearing on the financial dynamics, simply because whoever prints the cloth will still ask for a high price. The expense is not in the royalties or license fees paid to Crye, it's at the mill. Compounding the issue even further is the fact that you will be required to switch kit out. So if anyone talks about the cost savings in this decision, I'd say show me the numbers. Take a look how much has already been spent in the process of deciding. Where is the return on investment? I'd say to the Army keep Multicam and put the dollars to work on something that will give you an incremental return on that investment.

    • Excuse me, but you make much too much sense. You obviously are not qualified to join the legions suckling at the defense industry teat.

    • Sorry, but we can't go with any of the multicam kit previously made/issued. Why? Because once that gear was returned to the Army post-deployment, it was discarded into a landfill. No lie. Didn't matter if it was brand new or used.
      Government work at it's finest…

  9. Black0psTactical | May 24, 2014 at 10:35 am | Reply

    You get what you pay for… and agree with 'Close enough for Government'! The government will pay $100 dollars for a toilet seat though!

    • SeniorVoterVeteran | May 28, 2014 at 8:16 am | Reply

      Yes, $100.00 Toilet Seat, that doesn't freeze, expand, crack, shrink, or spark, in military service in large aircraft, at 10,000 feet altitude, nor, cause huge problems at cruising depths, in Nuclear Submarines!

      The EPA and Milspec testing phases cost about $2 million.

  10. Throw in a few vertical slugs of RAL 7013, maybe add some Ranger green to the palette, and be done with it.

  11. Sooo, the military paid Crye to develop a camouflage pattern. Crye took it added some superflous spots and sold it as something new – depriving royalties from the military and thus the taxpayer. Ingenious!

    • This is how government R&D supports private enterprise. If the Army stopped Crye from reselling modified Scorpion people would scream bloody murder about Big Government quashing small businesses. Instead the Army helped foot the startup R&D costs for a very successful company. I know I'm glad MultiCam existed during the last couple of land wars in Asia, even if the Army was too dim to realize what they had.

    • Its all about MONEY bro…

  12. Matthew Cox do you have a pic of what this version of Scorpion W2 is gonna look like?

    • Wish I did, but I want details as to if they will still use stickon patches -that fall off after 3 washes- or sew on etc
      Oh yeah -will they now want money to waste on the development of a new boot as well?

  13. Any word on when it will be on shelves in Military Clothing Sales? Would love to stop wearing this crappy UCP

  14. WTF really this multicam is going to become just like the ACU in a few years they should’ve just went with US4CES they have every camo for very environment

    • The ACU will be hear to stay for a while because the new OCP/Scorpion will be in the ACU cut, it's just replacing the ACU in UCP.

  15. Desert tans worked so well in AFG that you could barely see us moving on the flight line. It was also a lighter weight which helped in the heat. We had to give those up in 09 for the grey ACU which shows up very well in the desert and mountain terrain. Uniforms kept changing and each time I deployed I received a different uniform and had to finally tell the supply folks to stop giving me the crap. None of it matched! Worse part of it is that each service has their own style. Stupidity in the DOD equals taxpayer blues.

    • Hey, give DOD a break, they are only making money for their retirement; no worse than the crooks in Congress

  16. Too many uniforms Army different than Marines, Navy has some ugly ass blue garbage and Air Force has another pattern. Standardize on one for all forces and save us taxpayers some money.

    • I don't understand the Navy's blue camo…if you fall in the water do you really want to blend in? I don't see SEALS wearing them and they are the only ones I can think of that would actually not want to be seen in the water. Would someone in the Navy explain the blue uniform to me?

      • I believe it's more a matter of each branch of service wanting to be different, than any other factor. Back in 1947 when the Air Force split off from the Army, they bent over backwards to make their uniform as different as they could. An overblouse without the wing lapels and belt, a very grayish shade of blue, pre-tarnished buttons and insignias. The only thing they retained were the "U.S." lapel insignia– and even the enlisted version was inside a ring rather than on a solid disc– and the bars, oak leaves, eagles and stars for rank insignia (although they even tried getting away from that at one point in the 1990s).

        As I said on another post in this discussion, I'm retired Armu but started out in the Air Force; I'm old enough to have caught the tail end of the Vietnam era when all services had a khaki short-sleeved service uniform and used the old OG-107 fatigues. There was something unifying in that, but of course everyone had do go their own way eventually.

    • but one that works. like woodland for example :)

  17. Zach Pilson | May 27, 2014 at 5:30 pm | Reply

    The article should also show a swatch of the Universal Camouflage Pattern so readers could compare all three.

  18. Oh boy, a new way to waste more money. Eff the taxpayers.
    General: What did you do before you came to Supply?
    Supply Officer: Toilet Paper Engineer, Sir.
    General: Were you good at it?
    Supply Officer: Yes, Sir.
    General: Well, you should have stuck with it, because you are a cluster eff as a supply officer.

    • Frank Lee Medeere | May 28, 2014 at 12:25 pm | Reply

      Slightly altered version of Grenada scene in which the General tells that to Major Powers (from Clint Eastwood's "Heartbreak Ridge")…love that movie. Good reference, Cowboy Bob!

  19. Rotate one of the images 90 degrees, and the two are nearly the same except for the brightness.

  20. Mark Wahlberg | May 27, 2014 at 11:29 pm | Reply

    I still can see that young person wearing a Camo suit, I will definitely still see him even if he is standing behind foliage from 1/2 mile :D

  21. Do one in woodland colors and one in desert colors. And go back to an od green uniform for daily use. You only need cammies in the field..

    • Jean @ Ft Rucker AL | May 28, 2014 at 1:38 am | Reply

      Yea! Common sense.

    • The Army is planning on doing some more testing for a set of bookend patterns, read desert & woodland, to compliment the new OCP camo. Ironically, they're going to be testing analogue vs. digital with the digital being MARPAT (woodland & desert) and analogue being the old M81 woodland and 3 color desert.

  22. None of this stuff works. It could be neon orange and work just as good!

  23. SeniorVoterVeteran | May 28, 2014 at 8:19 am | Reply

    We aren't seeing the patterns under different lighting, nor, infrared viewing.
    Testing results of the MilSpec. ? no, not that, either! Classified!

    So, GIGO.

  24. Camo clothing for some is great for others sit serves now purpose. Sailors on board ship? If you can't see the ship you will not see the sailors on it. Sgt Major, stop being political and do what is best for the troops not your career.

  25. Jim Greiner | May 28, 2014 at 8:58 am | Reply

    Also it was my understanding that all the services were supposed to adopt the same pattern for additional cost savings. Haven't heard whether the other services are on board with this. Another gigantic waste of money is each service with a different style uniform and camo pattern. Maybe we just should've went back to old OG jungle fatigues, they would adapt themselves to most any environment on earth.

  26. The pattern matters, colors matter, IR matters…… but only to guys and gals that need to be camoflauged. SOF has the funding and ability to change with technology and environment, the average Soldier does not. Our vehicles, generators and footprint prohibit us from every being stealthy again in the “big Army”. Lets get over patterns and go back to a simple solution….. OD greens, that are breathable, durable and less expensive.

  27. Go back to BDU's for woodland, DCU's for desert, burn the beret, And I would actually be on board with having a garrison uniform then wearing camo in the field, something you can iron and starch and boots you can polish.

  28. When all of you Army active duty and vets feel bad about the changes back and forth with Camo uniforms, just take a deep breath and say "it could be worse, it could be Navy"… now THERE is a uniform disaster of major proportions!

  29. Since we are getting rid of ACU, can we do the same with the dress uniform known as ASU? I really hate that clown suit, especially with Jump Boots. I feel like a South American police commander from a B movie. Remember when the Army was GREEN?

    • The ACU is going nowhere, it's UCP (the actual camo pattern) that is going away. The Army will still be using in ACUs just in OCP/Scorpion instead of UCP.

  30. Thunderhorsellc | May 28, 2014 at 11:43 am | Reply

    It seems to me that if we withold the preposterously huge payments to greedy Tribal Warlords in Afghanistan who do not like us anyway and / or other such payoffs, we could purchase the best camo for our troops.

  31. Yellow Devil | May 28, 2014 at 3:38 pm | Reply

    I've deployed three separate time with the Army, twice to IQ, once to AFG. Each time I wore a different uniform.

  32. I’m retired after being an officer in either the Air Force or Army for 25 years, so I’ve seen a lot of bureaucratic brain farts in both services. One of the worst was the concept of the ACU when the woodland and desert BDU were both working fine for their respective environments (the later desert post-chocolate chip pattern in particular). I consider myself lucky to have retired just prior to the ACU getting issued and never owning a set. Anybody who isn’t colorblind and has more than two brain cells could see that the ACU doesn’t blend in with either a woodland or desert background. Neither of these new patterns are much better, both looking like the old woodland with a little less green and more tan.

    The Army bureaucracy has been in denial for ten years and seems to continue to be, and you can practically hear them yelling, “You WILL NOT see the soldier who is wearing this uniform, and THAT’S AN ORDER!!!”

    Let’s face reality: we’re not going to get a camouflage pattern that works in both woodland and desert until the Army buys the rights to the Hogwarts Invisiblility Cloak or develops a man-portable Romulan Cloaking Device, i.e. never!

    • First off, ACU is the uniform pattern, it can be printed in any pattern under the sun; the god-awful camo pattern that ACUs are typically printed in is UCP.

      Secondly, as for universality, it seems that the Army has learned its lesson and is looking into adopting a set of bookend patterns for use in woodland and desert environments.

  33. The Scorpion Pattern Looks Terrible !! It is already faded

  34. So when do we get it?

  35. More BROWN shades are needed in the Scorpion pattern. Hunters have found browns are virtually universal for good camouflage so you now see fewer greens in hunting patterns lately.

    You may be in a green forest but the forest floor (where you are 99% of the time) is shades of brown.

    Perhaps if ALL US armed services chose the same camo pattern, as Congress has asked them to do, the cost of Multi Cam would be more palatable.

    • But yeah, I agree that Multi Cam is more effective, as tests have proven. Does Big Army give a damn? Not really by their choice of 2nd best Scorpion pattern.

      Some of those Army desk pilots that make these decisions need to be in the field DEPENDING on their camo pattern for their lives before they make decisions that are literally life and death.

      Get the money for Multi Cam by retiring 20% of the Army generals. We have more generals per enlisted men than any major army in the world, WAAAAY more. Much has been written about this. Look it up in Time magazine of around Oct. 2013, for ex.

      • You guys should look at the French CCE. It has been worn in combat in Bosnia, Kosovo, Horn of Africa and Afghanistan. Seems to bear up in just about all environments. Just saying.

      • "Some of those Army desk pilots that make these decisions need to be in the field DEPENDING on their camo pattern for their lives before they make decisions that are literally life and death."

        That's not such a bad nor an alien idea. It's analogous to a parachute rigger who, for quality control, has to make a jump with a randomly selected chute from a batch that he packed himself.

  36. Hooray! The cat's out of the bag. Now can we move on to another US Army soup sandwich/Good Idea Fairy topic? Frankly after 3-5 years of this circle jerk I'm ready for another topic.

  37. if you look at the pictures, it looks as though they are the same, except one is flipped upside down and the other is at a different resolution…just sayin thats what I see!!!!

    • They look pretty close because Crye made both of them. The main difference in the pattern is the vertical elements they added into Multicam that made it blend better. I still think this whole new camo process has been a decade long unnecessary shitfest.

  38. Ranger Rick | June 7, 2014 at 2:17 am | Reply

    I wonder how much in excess of $25M the Government spent to take us down a rabbit trail only to circle back to something similar Multicam? We should have exercised expediency, paid cash on the barrel head and have had done with it. And no more silly individual branch patterns. Oh, and one last thing – get rid of Velcro for buttons!

  39. Captain America is in charge. :)

  40. The Russians have something that looks a lot like both MultiCam and Scorpion, Not sure why all branches of the military dont go back to having the same uniform. They could keep what ever stile they wanted but the color and pattern should be the same. Just a thought though.

  41. I have never figured out why the Navy changed from the dungarees to the blue acu's a mile away you can't really tell if anyone is on deck or not. Especially during General Quarters, where it was only the watch crews on deck.

  42. The scorpion is what my mcu's looked like after a couple of weeks in Afghanistan. What a waste.

  43. Rich McKinney | July 3, 2014 at 12:47 pm | Reply

    I remember an old Beetle Baily cartoon from the 80's"
    Beetle: You see those guys in the PX with the camoflage uniforms?
    Killer: Yes.
    Beetle: Doesn't work does it.

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