Wednesday, January 11, 2012

US Army Camouflage Improvement Finalists Awarded

It was announced today in Soldier Systems Daily (SSD) that four finalists were selected for additional evaluation in the US Army Camouflage Improvement Effort. Kryptek L.E.AF. was awarded $6,453,000, Crye Precision, Inc. $639,863.99, Brookwood Companies Incorporated $82,638, and Atlantic Diving Supply, Inc $613,165.08.

These awarded funds will be utilized in all aspects of providing 1000 Yards of 50/50 NYCO Ripstop Fabric in each of the arid, woodland, and transitional patterns as well as 200 Feet of 4 inch loop, 200 Feet of 1 inch loop, and 50 Blouse Zippers, as well as 1000 yards of transitional pattern Cordura 1000 Denier Nylon. The government could also have executed the right to procure a non-exclusive license for any of the patterns for unlimited production and marketing purposes.  A 5th in-house government family of patterns will be in contention as well and will provide their own materials.

None of the selected patterns have been released to the public except for Kryptek LEAF's line of camouflage patterns including the Nomad, Highlander, and Madrake variants as shown in this order from left to right. Their innovative patterns have been very popular in the hunting community and it will be very interesting to see if their design success can cross over to Military uniforms. Its hard to say what they are up against without seeing the other contending patterns, but they definitely have a unique concept for their creation.

Crye Precision should be the odds on favorite as they have gained world wide acclaim with their MultiCam transitional pattern utilized by the US. Army, Air Force, as well as UK and Australian defence forces among many others, so will be excited to see what three or four patterns they came up with to fill the billet.

With Crye's  previous experience in camouflage contracting with the U.S. Army among many other Defense departments they can certainly be a ahead of the pack, especially when you consider the exacting pricing that narrows their estimate down to 99 cents. SSD notes that all of the patterns will also be compared against MultiCam Personal Protective Equipment, since there has been plenty of it manufactured for Afghanistan which can carry over to future use. This could give Crye some advantage if there new patterns compare well.

Atlantic Diving Suppy, Inc. best known as ADS has teamed up with camouflage designer Guy Cramer for their submission. This could be one powerhouse combination with ADS's years of experience in DOD contracting along with Mr. Cramer's well accepted camouflage designs among several nations across the globe.

His wide spread success in Afghanistan with multiple protection forces proves his effectiveness in getting his camo from concept to boots on the ground. Among many other projects, he also helped develop the U.S. Marine Corps Disruptive Overwhite "Snow Camouflage" with military camouflage design legend Dr. Timothy R. O'Neill. This proves his camouflage can make its way into the U.S. Military. 

Now we are down to the relative unknown among the other camouflage design companies previously mentioned here. While Brookwood Companies Incorporated may be lacking in big name recognition to the public, they have a long track record of supplying Mil-Spec Fabrics to the Department of Defense among other governmental agencies.

Brookwood was also the first to offer 1000D Nylon in the Universal Camouflage Pattern. We assume the have an independent camouflage designer on board to provide their selection of desert, transitional, and woodland family of patterns, however with their general line of business, they may have already had their own camouflage development team gearing up for a contracts such as this.

Looking at the end figures for the awarded contracts, we could not help but notice the drastic differences in the amounts awarded to each company for this solicitation. Cost to perform the needed functions and possible licensing were not at the top of the priorities list. In fact it was 3rd down the line on a list covering 5 key areas.

So, this begs the question at to why the largest award to Kryptek is 78 times greater than size of the smallest award to Brookwood and around 10 times greater than the other two companies awarded, Crye and ADS. Are there other factors at play than just funding the development of printed fabric, findings, and finishings. Are their already licensing aspects at play here. This is pure speculation, but the distinct differences between the amounts awarded are interesting despite none of those involved having guidance on what are "appropriate" estimates for submission.

In another interesting highlight, PEO Soldier took note in their release that they would openly contribute their findings to the other services and they would be open to utilizing the camouflage patterns for their uniforms as well. This means we could possibly see a return to matching uniforms across the services or perhaps if the findings are close, the distinct camo for each branch of the armed forces could remain but with a possibly improved selection for everyone. We are sure plenty of people have their own opinion on how this should go down in the end. We just hope the right camouflage is chosen to provide the best protection for our troops.

To view full details on the initial announcement as well as information on how the next steps in the evaluation process will take place, check out the full article at: Soldier Systems Daily.

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