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Billions of dollars later, the Army's new uniforms are here

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Goodbye, Universal Camouflage Pattern

Last year, the Army announced that it had chosen a new camouflage uniform, finally selecting the replacement for its pixelated camouflage outfits, known as the Universal Camouflage Pattern. The reason was straight-forward: those outfits didn't work. And now the replacement uniforms — really, a version of older uniforms — are coming.

The UCP story is a strange, complicated, unfortunate one. In 2004, the Army adopted the new patterns in the hopes of improving invisibility, but that didn't happen — in fact, the pattern may have made troops more visible. So in 2010, the Army launched a competition to find the next generation of camouflage, but as Gizmodo reported last year, the competition never led to a winner. Instead, the Army chose a pattern it had designed in-house, under contract from a company that had designed the stopgap camouflage soldiers were using after it was discovered the UCP designs didn't work. The Army had that in-house pattern since 2002, meaning, essentially, everything that happened afterward never needed to.

This week, the Army finally announced that those "new" uniforms — known as "Operational Camouflage Pattern" — are here. They will be sold in military clothing stores across the United States on July 1st.

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