Report: Navy’s plan to dump blue camo will cost $180 million

090430-N-8848T-991 GREAT LAKES, Ill., (April 30, 2009) Male recruits try on their newly issued navy working uniform at Recruit Training Command. The uniform will replace the current working uniform and all present recruits will be issued the new working uniform over the next several weeks. New recruits will be issued the uniform on their second day at boot camp. (U. S. Navy photo by Scott A. Thornbloom/Released)

Male recruits try on the navy working uniform at Recruit Training Command. | U. S. Navy photo by Scott A. Thornbloom

The Navy is getting rid of its controversial “blueberries” uniform–but the move comes with a price tag.

The service’s transition to the more practical and expeditionary woodland-green camouflage Navy Working Uniform Type III as the primary shore working uniform for sailors will cost about $180 million over a five-year period, Navy spokeswoman Lt. Jessica Anderson told CNN.

Navy plans call for making the blue-and-grey NWU Type I optional for sailors beginning October 1 and eliminating its use entirely by the fall of 2019. New recruits will be issued the green camouflage uniform beginning Oct. 1, 2017.

The cost of transition revealed by the Navy means the short-lived blue camouflage will cost almost as much to kill as it did to create. Introduced in 2009, the uniform cost $229 million to develop, Navy Times reported.

But the uniform came under fire for its pointless camouflage pattern — which only worked if sailors fell overboard, critics said — and for its nylon material, which was found to melt when exposed to fire and posed a potential hazard to the sailors who wore it.

The high cost of developing the many camouflage patterns has drawn censure from lawmakers and watchdogs. This year the Senate included a provision in the National Defense Authorization Act that would prevent the Defense Department from developing any new camo without notifying Congress a year in advance.

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