|Mk V Tac Suit|
|Official Name||Mark V Tactical Operations Suit|
|Type||Experimental Modular Uniform|
|Primary Users||Splinter Cells|
|Succeeded By||Mark VII Special Operations Suit|
|Used By||Sam Fisher|
|Appearances||SC - PT - CT - E - DA - B (DLC)|
The Mark V Tactical Operations Suit (codenamed RhinoPlate, also known as the Upper Echelon Suit) was an experimental uniform that was issued to Splinter Cells by Third Echelon for covert operations. The stealth suit helped Sam Fisher out on a number of missions during his time with Third Echelon. Though the Mk V Tac Suit is generally thought of as a matte-black, skin-tight diving suit, it is a very modular system, capable of accepting many types of additions depending on the area that he is operating in. After its absence due to Sam's resignation from Third Echelon and his personal mission during the EMP Event in D.C. in 2011, the suit (now called the Upper Echelon Suit) made its return as a DLC in Splinter Cell: Blacklist as part of its "Upper Echelon Pack"edition.
The Mk V Tac Suit is a specially designed wetsuit made from a DARPA-invented version of Dragon Skin that fits tightly around the user's body (similar to a bodysuit), making it almost impossible to hear it move. It has a weight of 4 pounds (unloaded) and a thickness of 8 millimeters (1/4 inches). The fabric of the suit is interwoven with Kevlar (outer layer), RhinoPlate (core material), and made of seventh generation Gore-Tex (inner layer), allowing it to reduce damage caused by bullets with relatively low velocity, such as pistol rounds and assault rifle rounds fired from long range, though it is relatively weak against bullets from closer ranges, as they maintain a faster velocity, and more power, and shrapnel from 12 feet.
The Gore-Tex was tested to maintain core body temperatures down to 15 degrees Fahrenheit with the hood up, and as high as 110 degrees. The user could go ”from Alaska to the Sahara” and stay relatively comfortable. The outer layer of the Kevlar was treated with a polymer fiber similar to the coating on stealth aircraft: matte-black, slightly rough to the touch for maximum light absorption. The micro-roughened exterior partially defuses light. Basically about 30% of whatever photons strike the surface gets trapped, if only for a split second, but enough to diffuse them. Bottom line: The suit allows the user to blend in with the shadows and darkness very well. The placement of pockets and equipment is also placed to break up the human silhouette that human eyes can easily make out in dark areas. The synthetic, glossy material and most of the user's equipment are often a very dark color, almost black when viewed from a shadowy place, though upon closer inspection, the suit itself is actually a dark gray.
- Combat Boots
- Assault Vest
- Utility Belt
- Cargo Pants
- Nomex Balaclava
- Tactical Harness
- Portable Transceiver (that emits light only visible to the player)
- Compact Rebreather (when extensive swimming will be required) (pictured)
- Tactical Hard-Knuckle Gloves (allowing for better hand-to-hand combat)
The features of the Mk V Tac Suit include:
- A thermoregulation (heating/cooling) system that uses water to maintain the suit's temperature.
- Kevlar, RhinoPlate, and Gore-Tex threads that are sewn in makes the suit almost bulletproof (as stated above).
- Photosensitive threads that detect lasers from snipers.
- Several bladders of water to sustain him for up to twelve hours.
- A light sensitivity/ambient noise meter (pictured) wired into a series of photocells embedded in the suit that provides real-time visibility and sound data. In Chaos Theory, the sound meter shows both the volume of the surrounding environment and the sound the user makes.
The Arctic variation is designed for use in the extreme cold, such as the operation in Iceland in Version 2 of Double Agent. The user maintains their standard suit, though on top of it they wear a blotchy tri-color camouflage hoodie and combat pants, likely made from a combination of wool and synthetic material. With this, they wear their standard leg holsters and a tactical chest harness holding two SC-20K magazines and two Five-seveN magazines. The user wears their normal combat boots and utility belt.
During the Okhotsk mission during the Red Mercury Plot, Sam Fisher is seen wearing the Mk V Tac Suit's diving variation during his mission in the Sea of Okhotsk, but with a solid grey-white color. With this, he wears his usual split-front chest rig and rebreather.
While Fisher has worn his suit in different styles while working in urban operations in the past, he is seen wearing an alternate version of the Urban variation during his time undercover. This variation consists of black cargo pants in a grey pixels camouflage pattern with a utility belt seemingly built in. It does not have kneepads, though they could possibly be internal. Sam wears a black knitted T-shirt. Over this he adopts an "ordinary" tight-fitting body vest with attachment points, likely made out of some sort of Kevlar and RhinoPlate combination for protection against firearms. He retains his thigh holsters and combat boots. He sometimes sports his usual Nomex balaclava and military gloves.
Instead of wearing of a Desert variation during his mission in Kinshasa, Fisher wears an alternate version of the variation, which is a desert outfit consisting of a sandy-brown, short-sleeve shirt under his combat vest, which is a MOLLE capable tactical vest with storage for multiple ammunition magazines, baggy flat dark earth cargo pants in a coyote brown blotchy camouflage pattern with sandy-brown knee pads and combat boots. He wears rose-brown colored aviators as opposed to Multi-Vision Goggles. He wears tactical fingerless gloves with the knuckles cut out.
The Tropical variation is relatively simple, a grey and black diving sleeveless shirt and brown-and-black diving shorts, with brown fingerless gloves. Fisher wears diving boots (or booties).
Remaining unseen is a very important factor for Fisher on his missions, thus wearing the right clothing was necessary. The following is a gallery of Sam's stealth suit from his previous missions:
Demonstrations at E3 and CES 10, as well as images in various magazines and websites, have revealed many of the details surrounding the stealth suits of Archer and other Third Echelon agents. Their suits appear to have a greater number of pouches and more gear-bearing equipment than Sam's standard suit, possibly reflecting the greater emphasis on the use of lethal force and their seeming new role as shock troops. Another addition is a matte-black assault vest that most likely contains some form of Kevlar or another bulletproof material. Other forms of protection such as shoulder pads, thick knee and shin guards and thick gauntlets can also be seen; in comparison to Sam's Mk V Tac Suit, the new suits given to these agents appear to be more advanced, a successor to the Mk V Tac Suit called the "Mark VII Special Operations Suit" (codenamed 3E Eclipse) or Mk VII Spec Ops Suit.
Another thing to note is the agents' new weaponry, such as a wide-radius EMP device, and the ability to carry a greater number of devices featured in previous games such as frag grenades.
- Archer is not restricted to Third Echelon attire, and in various multiplayer trailers can be seen wearing typical military BDUs and even Sam's single-player outfit.
- It is most likely that Ubisoft created Sam's suit as a reflection of his Navy SEAL days.
- Despite its utility, Sam Fisher dislikes the suit's appearance. In the novel, he says "My only beef with the uniform is that it's so tight fitting and neat that it makes me look like a comic book superhero. Even my special headpiece looks like a mask when I have the goggles down."
- Though mostly wearing the standard matte-black suit, Fisher sometimes changes his suit to fit the appropriate conditions, such as jungle camouflage, a greyish-white snowsuit (seen during the "Nadezdha Nuclear Plant" mission, an exclusive level for the PS2 version of Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell), shorts with a short-sleeved shirt in hot environments, or multiple suit layers of a different color. The suit is likely a modular system and is customizable to the way the operator would feel comfortable. It can also be worn in conjunction with different tactical equipment and clothes.