French Army adopts new BME multi-environment combat uniform

As reported by Laurent Lagneau in Opex360, it has now been nearly thirty years since the patterns of fatigues worn by French Army soldiers have not changed. Only the dominant colors vary according to the environment (Central Europe and desert), which makes that the package contains two different types of combat clothing depending on the theater of operations. From 2024, a new camo combat uniform will be issued to the Ground Force.
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The new multi-environment combat uniform will be issued to the French Land Force from 2024 (Picture source: STAT/ADJ Alexandre B)

In 2016, the French army started thinking of providing each soldier with a "multi-environment" fatigue, i.e. one that can be adapted to all environments (urban, mountain, desert, forest, etc), thanks to a "passive coloring" likely to "deceive the eye" of the adversary, Laurent Lagneau writes. “The colors chosen, resulting from the study of various regions of the world, merge in all environments. The disruptive effect of certain colors amplifies concealment at a medium distance by deceiving the enemy's eye. To maintain its multi-distance performance, the spots are made up of a tangle of large complex broken shapes, softened by gradient effects and other small sharp spots”, explains the Army. It consists of six colors in "mixed broken form" whose contours have been slightly pixelated to better blend into natural environments.

The new multi-environment pattern [BME] is inspired by American and British models but retains French specificities, including the “earth brown from France” and the triangular pattern which refers to the SCORPION program. According to the tests carried out, the new pattern increases the time required to spot a soldier wearing the new combat uniform. Another advantage is that, in the future, only one type of truss will be needed for all types of outdoor theaters, which will constitute a logistical advantage.

This new combat uniform will be distributed from 2024, accompanying the generalization of the F3 fatigues in the new BME camouflage pattern: The new F3 outfit, delivered since 2019, retains the old Central-Europe, desert and mountain patterns. Its distribution was nevertheless limited to infantry units and those deployed in external operations. From 2024, this version will be phased out in favor of a definitive F3, the BME model this time extended to all services, directorates and departments of the Defense ministry. All will be delivered in parallel, according to volumes adapted to each. service. The new uniform is much more protective than the previous one used by the French forces for 20 years. It is cut from a flame retardant Ristop fabric in a tear-resistant mesh. The jacket is equipped with a closure (zip and velcro) to close it up to the neck so that neither water, dust nor sand can pass through. It is adapted to the new bulletproof vest (ballistic modular structure). The pants retain their side pockets and are equipped with slots for inserting knee protection.