SEAL Team - Behind the kit - Environmental Disruptive Patterns
SEAL Team provides us with 4 seasons of kit, equipment, uniforms, tactics and operations to dissect, analyse and pore over. Minute details can be noted on an individual operators kit in Bravo along with specific weapons systems and ancillaries dependant on role within the team. No matter where Bravo are deployed, they need to understand their operating environment. Part of this involves their choice of Environmental Disruptive Pattern (EDP) or Camouflage prior to heading out on task. Some disruptive patterns are multi-environmental such as Multicam or Ranger Green, others are more specific such as Multicam Alpine or Civilian. For this blog I'll cover the variety of disruptive patterns utilised by Bravo and their support elements through the 4 seasons. I've broken each section into; history / background, real world photos, references to Bravo / support element usage and photos from the show (where possible).
As always, I delved into the archive of HD images, promotional images of the show, clips, behind the scenes videos and the episodes themselves, all to get the most I could in regards to writing this blog. Through reviewing everything there are a core base of EDPs used throughout the seasons and I've collated them into this blog for comparison alongside real world examples of the EDP in use as well as when it was seen in the show. The idea for this blog is to help anyone with both identifying the EDP seen in the show but also having a number of HD images for referencing and replicating loadouts.
NWU (Navy Working Uniform) Type I
The NWU Type I is a combination of several blue hues linked in history to the US Navy. In addition to history, and for a more practical purpose, the colours match the colours used onboard ships and are designed to help minimise visibility of stains and paints. The NWU Type I is the standard uniform used by all US Navy Sailors. When worn, personnel are referred to as 'blueberries'.
Whilst not technically worn by anyone with Bravo or by their immediate support elements. Several versions of the ABU were spotted in the background of the TOC (Tactical Operations Center) across the seasons in an effort to highlight the different military branches that are often operating together on a mission.
NWU Type II - AOR1
The NWU Type II (originally codenamed AOR1) is a desert digital uniform consisting of four colours and is specifically worn by Special Warfare Operators, sailors who support them and select NECC (Navy Expeditionary Combat Command) units. The NWU Type II is designed for use in desert, tundra and arid regions. The NWU Type II uniform features the embedded Anchor, Constitution and Eagle (ACE) emblem something shared with the NWU Type III uniform, but not the NWU Type I uniform.
There are multiple sources showing AOR1 being utilised on operations with full uniforms seen and a mixture of AOR1 and other disruptive patterns such as AOR2, M81 Woodland etc. Whilst it did prove successful, the multi-environment use of Multicam soon overtook AOR1 as the preferred disruptive pattern.
The NWU Type II or AOR1 variant has been used across all seasons of SEAL Team and across a wide range of environments. Typically it has been seen both in full use as a uniform but also mixed with Multicam and Multicam Arid, something that the operators are able to do through personal choice. Generally AOR1 has been in use in desert environments and some urban locations by all members of Bravo. A number of the TOC (Tactical Operations Center) staff continue to wear AOR1 when deployed also.
NWU Type III - AOR2
NWU Type III is a woodland based digital uniform, constituting four colours. This uniform was designed to be worn in CONUS (Contiguous United States) i.e. at military locations within the US and can be worn whilst deployed. The NWU Type III is designed for woodland, jungle and temperate regions. As with the NWU Type II uniform, it also features the embedded Anchor, Constitution and Eagle (ACE) emblem.
The NWU Type III has fully replaced as of 2019 the original NWU Type I uniform and is now a staple part of various US military units and has been seen deployed to multiple operational theatres. Much like AOR1, generally AOR2 is seen mixed with other disruptive patterns.
The NWU Type III or AOR2 variant is used extensively by Bravo and those within the SEAL Team units, primarily within the confines of the base / TOC, but on a couple of occasions, in operational use. It's the standard base uniform for most personnel and keeps with its origins. AOR2 was seen in operational use when Bravo deployed in Season 2 Episode 16 'Dirt, Dirt, Gucci' to the Philippines. Whilst the majority of Bravo deployed in Multicam Tropic, PERRY and QUINN wore AOR2.
Multicam was designed by Crye Precision for the US Army to be employable in multiple operating environments throughout the year. Multicam utilises seven colours (constituting of greens, browns and a cream). Multicam was seen used by forces in Afghanistan and Iraq and is now among one of the standard disruptive patterns in use by the US military.
Multicam (original version) is a new standard in different theatres of operations across the globe. Multiple forces have adopted it outside of the United States and variants have been emerging (both official and unofficial) over the years. It's almost unique ability to be multi-environmental has earnt it a place amongst war fighters and it's likely not going to be going anywhere anytime soon.
Multicam is the staple disruptive pattern in use by Bravo across deployments. This is down to the fact that Bravo use Crye Precision G3 uniforms (more tried and tested real steel equipment) and also that Multicam is a multi-environmental disruptive pattern, applicable from woodland to scrubland to urban to desert like conditions. Multicam has been used as a full uniform set as well as mixed with a variety of other disruptive patterns to suit the teams needs across the 4 seasons.
Multicam Arid was designed for use in desert and arid environments. This design was implemented to increase the serviceability and usage of Multicam by forces without being limited by choice, ie only able to utilise the original Multicam potentially in an environment that did not suit it.
Multicam Arid has been captured in use by US and Canadian Special Forces in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Suited more to the desert regions it enables the operator to blend in even further with a visually subtle EDP.
In conjunction with the standard Mutlicam pattern, Bravo do use Multicam Arid across the seasons, generally favouring to mix it with standard Multicam or AOR1 kit. Designed for use in desert environments it's another of Bravos firm favourites.
Multicam Tropic was created to fit the market for those deployed to and operating within jungle and tropical environments and to a lesser extent within dense woodland / vegetation.
Multicam Tropic has been seen in use by US Forces training teams in Eastern Asia supporting and training local and Governmental forces. Obviously suited for the jungle environment primarily, it's less likely to be seen in use elsewhere.
The third Multicam variant Tropic has been utilised a number of times, primarily when Bravo was deployed to the Phillipines into a jungle environment for a number of operations, but also when deployed to Dhaka, Bangladesh.
Multicam Alpine was designed for those operating in tundra environments or where heavy snow features. Utilising a palette of whites and greys it enables the user to blend near perfectly into their surrounding environments.
The Crye Precision manufactured Multicam Alpine is in essence a thin outer layer garment designed to be worn over the top of the units / operators standard EDP. It's designed to be slightly loose and baggy and having multiple access points via zips to uniform pockets worn underneath it. The garments are lightweight, cost effective and packable into a small pouch.
The fourth Multicam variant Alpine, has only been seen in Season 4 Episode 1 'God of War' when Bravo enter the Spīn Ghar mountain range in Eastern Afghanistan. The Crye Precision Alpine outer jacket was only used being both lightweight and allowing access to the jackets worn underneath.
Multicam Black has been designed purely to meet LEA (Law Enforcement Agencies) requirements for
personnel operating in high risk urban environments. It's subtle darkened Multicam pattern is also designed to effect an authoritative posture. It does not provide any other additional EDP capabilities during low light / night time scenarios.
Multicam Black has been seen used by Bravo across the seasons in a variety of missions, predominantly where Bravo are operating in an urban environment. Further, it has generally been seen in use during night time insertions or where there is low light.
The previously written blog 'SEAL Team - Behind the kit - Black kit (Sea / Land)' covers the kit and equipment used by Bravo when operating with Multicam black kit.
The Caiman EDP was designed by Leading Edge Ventures and HyperStealth Biotechnology Corporation, two large organisations that took to redeveloping and redefining EDP for use in multiple environments. A more in-depth writeup can be found on SoldierSystems here.
Bravo utilised Caiman EDP when deployed to Mexico for several episode and Caiman was used as a stand in to cover the Marina Trans Jungle (MTJ) formerly known as US4CES Transitional. MTJ is the adopted EDP of the Mexican Marines 'Infanteria de Marina'. Developed in the US as a potential replacement for existing EDP, US4CES was picked by Mexico and subjected to a series of trials as a promising alternative to their existing EDP. MTJ is a restricted product and Caiman was used as the replacement due to similarities, a comment which featured on HyperStealth Biotechnology Corporation Facebook page here.
ACU (Army Combat Uniform) / UCP (Universal Camouflage Pattern)
UCP is universally regarded as one of the worst EDPs. Originally designed for use in sandy / urban environments in Afghanistan and Iraq it utilised the now common pixelated pattern. The original UCP was available in the Desert Sand, Foliage Green or Urban Grey variants. In some environments the EDP worked extremely well such as in the mountainous regions of Afghanistan below the snowlines, however in the local villages on the plains of Helmand, figures stood out a mile away. UCP was eventually phased out and replaced by the more popular Multicam.
As with some of the more common / unique EDP variants, whilst not technically worn by anyone with Bravo or by their immediate support elements. Several versions of UCP were spotted in the military bases and worn by foreign military figures seen in several episodes.
Tigerstripe Grey - ABU (Airmen Battle Uniform)
The Tigerstripe Grey ABU is soon due to be phased out and replaced by the standard Multicam variant. The original intention was to honour the disruptive pattern employed by Special Forces in Vietnam, however early iterations of the ABU were wildly different which caused divide in the ranks. Whilst used on occasion by Airmen when deployed in operational theatre, their use was strictly limited to within the confines of the base due to their level of visibility.
Whilst not technically worn by anyone with Bravo or by their immediate support elements. Several versions of the ABU were spotted in the TOC (Tactical Operations Center) across the seasons in an effort to highlight the different military branches that are often operating together on a mission. The ABUs are worn by USAF personnel.
Ranger Green is a staple colour of choice for EDP, whether it be in full solid use ie uniform and plate carrier / equipment. Generally Ranger Green has been favoured by use of LEA (Law Enforcement Agencies) and Specialist Firearms Units.
Crye Precision produces a wide range of Ranger Green products for both uniforms and tactical equipment such as plate carriers.
Predominantly Ranger Green is used by Bravo in a baselayer format or worn as an outer layer with PERRY continuing to wear a Ranger Green Crye Precision AVS throughout the seasons.
Coyote Brown is another staple colour used by global forces generally as baselayers or outer layers when mixed with other EDP rather than as standalone. It's usage in isolation is rare and likely used theatres would be temperate and desert environments. The Coyote Brown EDP is being trialled in use by the Norwegian Defence Forces.
When Coyote Brown kit has been seen in SEAL Team, it has generally been used on base and appears as fleeces or layered jackets during Bravos down time. Other personnel have been seen on base wearing Coyote Brown layers also.
Wolf Gray / Grey
In the UK, Wolf Gray / Grey kit is associated with CTSFO (Counter Terrorism Specialist Firearms Officers). Their presence in the media during critical events and when seen participating in house raids and searches again helps to denote and create a clean, sleek and authoritarian presence.
The use of Wolf Gray kit has only been seen once in use by Bravo when the team deployed to Chinese waters to rescue a number of hostages held onboard a hijacked vessel.
Black kit is generally associated with a whole host of police forces across the globe, notably SWAT (Special Weapons And Tactics) elements of Police Departments and private security. Black uniforms create an authoritarian presence and when seen in force can be seen as dominating and oppressive.
Over the course of the first 3 seasons of SEAL Team, Bravo have at times donned full black kit breaking away from the traditional Multicam / AOR1 disruptive patterns. The black kit has been utilised when Bravo have been operating in the maritime environment either used in the surface (rib) / sub-surface role when the ops have been taking place at night and also during land based night time ops which did stretch into daylight hours. Whilst few and far between, these episodes were interesting regarding the equipment used, paired most definitely to suit the mission and the environment.
The previously written blog 'SEAL Team - Behind the kit - Black kit (Sea / Land)' covers the kit and equipment used by Bravo when operating with black kit.
Civilian / Low Profile
Civilian / Low profile clothing is generally used by elements of traditional military forces or Special Forces when operating in civilian areas. Traditionally when seen, personnel are escorting political or military figures from location A > B whilst providing protection. Bulky plate carriers are ditched in favour of low profile chest rigs of carriers due to close confines and vehicle work. Civilian clothing sometimes worn by Special Forces are designed to enable them to blend in with indigenous forces such as when US forces were operating jointly with the Mujahedeen fighting in Afghanistan. PMCs (Private Military Contractors) also utilise civilian / low profile gear.
Across the 3 seasons Bravo do deploy in covert roles in Europe and across the globe facing a number of threats. Whilst these factors vary, Bravos' equipment changes little. Their covert posture requires the team to; operate with less kit and equipment, work close to targets and be reliant upon continuous accurate intelligence to allow them to take out a target in a densely populated area, snatch an HVT from a busy market or conduct reconnaissance against a hostile force in broad daylight.
The previously written blog 'SEAL Team - Behind the kit - Low Profile Gear' covers the kit and equipment used by Bravo when operating low profile.
Thoughts and opinion
Environmental Disruptive Patterns (EDP) are designed to fit either a specific theatre or be applicable to multiple operational environments. Over the course of the past 200 years, uniforms of the armed forces across the globe have changed significantly, and today there are hundreds of available EDP uniforms to choose from. There are multiple recognisable variants such as Multicam, old school British DPM (Disruptive Pattern Material), US Chocolate Chip and many more and the current theme appears to be towards digitization of the future patterns; quicker, cheaper and more combat effective, therefore that means more orders and adoption of new and upcoming patterns for use across the globe.
There will always be the firm favourites of time past and there will be those wanting the latest unveiled EDP, the main question is to ask, what environment am I operating in? Cheap doesn't necessarily mean reliable, strong or able to deal with the abuse thrown at it such as kneepad areas and sometimes the better things in life do cost money, but the comfort and peace of mind when used day in day out is likely to be a huge long term positive.
Bravo Team employ a number of EDP as shown in this blog, there are likely to be many more used in future seasons and new EDPs appear globally all of the time. Whilst the main staple for Bravo appears to be AOR1 and Multicam it's current popularity by Forces, Law Enforcement and Civilians means that there is plenty of surplus clothing available for purchase at a reasonable price for those wanting to replicate onscreen loadouts. As mentioned this blog was written to help showcase the different EDP utilised by Bravo and it to inspire and help those wanting to replicate onscreen kit and equipment or just further readers knowledge around EDP used.
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I am not paid for my blogs by the manufacturers or companies that I purchase my items from. I am not offered freebies to promote a product. These blogs are purely written from my own experience in truth to help advise and inform others who may wish to purchase the items or understand more about them. If I am sent a freebie to review this will be stated at the beginning to make you aware.