The Israeli Defense Forces are one of the very few modern and technologically advanced organizations out there who have been behind when it comes to combat clothing and camouflage patterns. The primary reason is likely the cost associated with the changes but also with how camouflage or anything concealment is perceived. For starters, we used American BDUs in woodland or desert patterns (a set I was once issued still had a Ranger scroll on it … good lord) or Fibrotex’s suits which became extremely popular — and beneficial to the IDF‘s way of working. To summarize it, the IDF believes that concealment is achieved through additional items, and not uniforms. However, it is important to note that in certain SF units there was use of different colors and patterns depending on circumstances.
To make sure our readers are fully aware – the IDF is still officially using — among its regular forces — olive drab as its primary color for all things uniform related. From combat fatigues to class “A”s (with some organizational exceptions).
The War on Terror did what any armed conflict in remote lands does — it sparks necessity, and necessity is the mother of all inventions. Since the war on terror commenced many things have changed — even camouflage. While this is something that could be spread over more than 100 pages, I will keep it simple — the tech was there, and the operational need also. More and more camouflage patterns were created, improved, changed and a standard was set. Modern equals digital camo, that was the common belief. From there, everything evolved. The IDF, which was aware of all of this, chose to ignore the fact that uniforms are essential to concealment. The reason was primarily the fact that camouflage is becoming less focused on avoiding human detection and more focused on defeating specific devices and technologies, that opposition might use in for searching or targeting. From IR, thermal, UV — more and more “detection” threats have emerged as technology advances. Therefore, the IDF decided, that individual camouflage should not be a uniform, but rather mission dependent. This was the mindset and perception for the some time.
These changes began around 2010. From Fibrotex’s Fightex to foreign companies, the IDF tested several patterns. However, it took time. Lot of time. Over the years the IDF invested millions into different types of fatigues and high-tech accessories for individual camouflage. So, you can see where the conflict starts.
From June to July, about 330 Israeli soldiers will participate a final field test of the new combat uniform with the new and improved Israeli camouflage pattern. They will be issued two sets each and wear the uniform in different daily operational environments. It is also important to remark that the design of the new uniform is more user friendly, durable and very comfortable for the region’s climate — and on top of it all, they will finally include patches for the soldiers’ name, rank and unit.
The pictures above show a soldier wearing two different patterns of the new camouflage. The pattern on the left and right show “Duvdevans” (SF unit) insignia while the pattern shown in the center includes Tanker insignia. It is not clear which pattern will be fielded for what purpose but the IDF claims both performed well in field tests.
Featured image courtesy of the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit