New camouflage to help British troops blend into Afghanistan’s varied terrain has been unveiled by the Ministry of Defence following computer modelling of the Afghanistan environment.

It is the first time since 1968 that the British Armed Forces have changed the camouflage pattern.

The Multi-Terrain Pattern (MTP) will eventually become the new look of the British Armed Forces. The new MTP camouflage will work across different terrains in Helmand Province, such as compounds, grassland, crops and woodland, all the areas our troops encounter on patrol.

Uniforms in the new pattern will be issued to troops from 4 Mechanized Brigade who will deploy to Afghanistan in March 2010. It will then be introduced across all three services from 2011.

The new camouflage uniforms were trialled in laboratory tests and field evaluations to assess overall performance with pilot trials held before the final testing. This included aerial and scientific photography to provide the right colours and brightness for the new camouflage pattern.

The colours were fed into a computer and computer modelling was used to represent the Green Zone, deserts and mixed environments in Afghanistan. A number of camouflage samples were then generated based on the colours found in Afghanistan and via the computer modelling trials.

Research into the Multi-Terrain Pattern (MTP) started six months ago and was funded as an Urgent Operational Requirement, costing £250,000.

Defence Secretary Bob Ainsworth said:

“This new camouflage will help our troops blend into different environments in Helmand Province to stay hidden from the Taliban.

“Patrols take our troops through the Green Zone, scrubland, desert and arid stony environments and it is crucial that the camouflage can work across all of them.

“We are striving to provide our brave troops with the very best personal kit and equipment and the new Multi-Terrain Pattern is just one example of how we are supporting our troops on the Afghanistan frontline.”

Lieutenant Colonel Matthew Tresidder, Chief of Staff for Defence Clothing, said:

“The new camouflage has undergone extensive trials to ensure we have the right pattern to blend in a host of environments troops encounter while patrolling the frontline.

“It is an important development for both troops on operations and also for the British Armed Forces as a whole once this pattern is adopted across the three services.

“It also keeps our sense of being British which was something the Junior Ranks said was important to them during the development process for the new camouflage.”

The samples were tested in the UK, Cyprus, Kenya and Afghanistan by the Infantry Trials Unit and it was found the Multi-Terrain Pattern offered the best performance over the widest range of environments.