This photo was taken during the 1st day of the Military Free Fall (MFF) exercise in Air Force City, formerly Clark Air Base in Angeles City, Philippines mainly with the Philippine National Police Special Action Force. A US NAVY SEAL donning their new Naval Working Uniform (NWU) Type III camouflage uniform called Area of Responsibility (AOR) 2. As the US Navy decided to change the uniform of its sailors and adopted the NWU Type I blue digital uniform, Naval Special Warfare Group took the opportunity to also come up with their own version to upgrade their current battle dress uniforms specifically for their special operations units.
Naval Special Warfare Development Group (DEVGRU) formerly the SEAL Team 6 created an Integrated Process Team (IPT) to develop this new uniform. IPT consisted of combat-experienced NSW operators who had the knowledge of the required current wartime areas of operation and what work best in the filed. The team progressed and currently testing two (2), four color digital camouflage patterns. They are the NSW Type II, Area of Responsibility 1 (AOR 1) which is designed mainly for Arid, Desert and this one, NSW Type III, Area of Responsibility 2 (AOR 2) for jungle, tropical/woodland or temperate region such as the Philippines where these NSW operators rotate for joint-exercise, training and/or their various roles as part of the Joint Special Operations Task Force-Philippines (JSOTF-P) in support of Operation Enduring Freedom-Philippines (OEF-P).
There are several main manufacturers contracted by NSW to make this new uniforms and combat gear of the same camouflage patterns, e.g. London Bridge Trading (LBT), Blackhawk Industries (BHI), Arc’teryx, Eagle Industries (EI), Crye Precision, etc..Hence, they came up with specific names for these types of camouflage, like LBT called it AOR 1 (Desert/Arid), AOR 2 (Tropical) and Crye Precision’s DIGI 1 (Tropical) and DIGI 2 (Desert/Arid). So far, these are the two names for these camouflage patterns and probably, other manufacturers may call it differently, making it more confusing.
LBT being co-located in Virginia, USA with their established long time relationship with the East Coast NSW for their tactical combat gear, where DEVGRU are based may have been first contacted to development this new camouflage pattern. Thus, the standard naming convention for this type of pattern. Whereas, for Crye Precision who developed the famous MULTICAM all terrain camouflage pattern that was also contracted to supply these new NSW Type III camo pattern named it Digi1, and the NSW Type II Digi2 for Arid/desert terrains.
By now, you may have pretty much of the idea why we usually find them described as AOR1/Digi2 (Desert) and AOR2/Digi1 (Jungle). But IPT not only came up with this new camouflage pattern but also, efficient features and configuration to address the deficiencies of the current battle dress uniforms.
2nd day: A prayer to honor the Philippine Army trooper of the Special Forces Regiment – Airborne (SFR-A) who was killed in a parachute accident a day before this was taken. The trooper was a participant of this Military Free Fall Joint/Combined Exercise Training (JCET) under the RP-US Vector Balance Piston 10-2.
Also, in this exercise was participated by US Army Special Forces, some of them already had been issued their all terrain 7-color Multi-Environment Camouflage (MultiCam) uniform. The Multicam was already announced after the trial period to supersede the current US Army wide issued Universal Camouflage Pattern, seen in the Army Combat Uniform (ACU).
As for this new NSW AOR camouflage pattern and the details of the configuration, like how many pockets and where to efficiently place them, the uniform that the NSW forces are wearing here are the final design that was decided and therefore, conformance testing is ongoing that started early 2010. One that I think stands out among the many features of these uniforms are the detachable hard shell knee pad that you can take off when not in combat. You can clearly see from the photo above the provisions for it.
The photos here were all taken in June 2010 and according to the NSW Team leader in this MFF event, these had been recently issued to them about less than 5~6 months ago. And according to NSW source, the goal is to issue personnel three uniforms, 2 eight-point covers and a Gortex Jacket with fleece liner, since they are still in development. Accordingly, it is not known when they will settle with the final configuration of these new types II and III uniforms but NSW is rigorously working with the Navy to pursue the full issue of these uniforms before the current timeline in year 2012.
Having said all these and to put an end of this writing, what was interested during this event and my prior knowledge of these new uniforms, I cannot help but to speculate the following:
- The patch that you can see in the first photo when one look at it closer during this event seems to have a small number “6” on it! Does it mean that this NSW Team was members of the Naval Special Warfare Development Group (DEVGRU) formerly of SEAL Team Six? Although, they were said to be NSW SEAL Team One, I would like to think so!
- IPT being created by NSW DEVGRU to develop these new uniforms, it is only but right to have their operators and personnel first to test it.
- If indeed they were DEVGRU and having known to work closely with US Army 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta (1st SFOD-D) aka Combat Application Group (CAG) or the most hype Delta Force., the United States’ primary counter-terrorism unit, then maybe, the US SF here in MultiCam were also indeed members of Delta.
Well, of course, if not then, just treat this as putting some exaggeration in this writing to evoke strong feelings or to create strong impressions of the participants of this exercise.
Philippine Army Special Forces Regiment – Airborne (SFR-A) officer in his coverall Tigerstripes camouflage who participated in this Joint Military Free Fall exercise. I am personally a big fan of tigerstripes camouflage uniforms ever since it was developed by the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) during the Vietnam War.