Soldiers wearing 'Brick' camo

The fashion world moves notoriously quickly. The same, however, can not always be said for the Ministry of Defence.

Seven years, or 28 catwalk seasons, after the introduction of the British Army’s Multi-Terrain Pattern (MTP) camouflage it's understood the MoD is considering issuing all soldiers with new Urban Pattern (UP) clothing.

Developed in secret with some of the UK's biggest homebuilders and fashion houses, UP camo is designed to give British troops the advantage when fighting in built-up areas such as European towns and cities.

Depending on where troops are deployed they'll be issued with either Brick, Stone or Pebble Dash clothing, kit and body armour.

Before its adoption in 2010, MTP camouflage was trialled in a number of environments, including deserts and grasslands. Tests in urban areas resulted in splodges of beige and dark brown being added to break up the patterns and add shadows.

But with the focus of operations moving away from more rural fighting environments in Afghanistan and Iraq, to the likes of densely populated Estonia and Poland, sources say the British Army have been increasingly concerned about the visibility of soldiers wearing MTP camo.

Initial design work for UP is alleged to have begun in 2015 after Army top brass became aware of Lt Col Neil Stace's top three finish in Season 3 of the BBC's Great British Sewing Bee.

British Army Officer Lieutenant Colonel Neil Stace is a finalist in the BBC TV series - The Great British Sewing Bee
British Army's Lieutenant Colonel Neil Stace, finalist in The Great British Sewing Bee

Speaking to Forces News a source revealed that UP has already been successfully worn by troops training in urban warfare in London, Edinburgh and Slough.

Over a number of days earlier this year thousands of tourists reportedly failed to spot Special Forces soldiers guarding some of the country's most visited attractions including Buckingham Palace, Edinburgh Castle and Windsor Castle.

With the Ministry of Defence refusing to answer questions about SAS and SBS operations Forces News has been unable to verify the rumours. 

However, while 'Stone' and 'Pebble Dash' have yet to be seen, a picture of 'Brick' has been leaked. It's thought to have been taken at Greenland's Camp on Salisbury Plain during 2016's top secret Exercise Blue Steel.

Blue Steel and the subsequent Exercise Magnum were apparently constructed to fully test soldiers' abilities to fight in built-up areas (FIBUA), with troops tasked with holding and defending a town against an enemy force. 

The cost of UP remains unknown although measures to mitigate the expense are likely to be undertaken. Among those being mooted is getting desk-bound British Army personnel to swap camouflage for casual clothing to enable them to better hide and fight in dress down offices (FIDO).

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