Camouflage Wiki

NWU type 1

The Navy Working Uniform, introduced in 2008, uses a multi-color digital print pattern similar to those introduced by other services. The NWU was introduced in three variants: Type I, predominantly blue, with some gray, for the majority of sailors and shipboard use; Type II, a desert digital pattern; and Type III, a woodland digital pattern (the two latter of which are both similar to MARPAT) for sailors serving in units requiring those types of uniforms, such as SEALs. Woodland and desert variants would be tailored differently than the blue-pattern uniform.

MARPAT comparison

NWU type 2 top left NWU type 3 bottom left compared to desert and woodland MARPAT.

The choice of a blue-dominant pattern was made to reflect the Navy's heritage and connection to seaborne operations. The pixelated pattern is also used to hide wear and stains, something unavoidable with the utilities and working khakis used previously. The colors were also chosen to match the most commonly used paint colors aboard ship, extending the lifetime of the uniform on long deployments where uniforms often come into contact with freshly painted surfaces. In 2012, the uniform was authorized for wear outside of military installations.

The uniform is primarily composed of a 50/50 nylon and cotton blend, which eliminates the need for a "starch and press" appearance and reduces the possibility of snags and tears from sharp objects (thus making the garment last longer).

However, this blend combines high flammability with the tendency to adhere onto the sailor's body while burning, rendering it completely unsuitable for shipboard use, and it was replaced with flame-resistant coveralls when working shipboard. Due to the unsuitability of its camouflage pattern ashore, in August 2016, the US Navy announced that it will be eliminating the Type I NWU in favor of the Type III by October 1, 2019 for wear as the standard uniform for all Navy personnel ashore. In 2017 the Type III began to be sold across the US and issued to all officer cadets and recruits from October 2017 and forward. The NWU Type I was completely retired from use in 2019. The Type II is still restricted to wear by Naval Special Warfare Sailors in desert environments.