US Army selects new camouflage pattern


I wonder if this is the last time the army will choose a pattern before they go for active systems which adapt to local conditions.

i’m suddenly wondering if there’s a comprehensive database of patterns used over the years. i have a patrol cap i thrifted last week with a desert-like pixellated pattern. i’d love to know where/when it was used.


Active camouflage is still pretty imperfect, and still prohibitively expensive. This is the Army we’re talking about - the largest branch of the military, with the biggest need for economy.

BDUs are cheap and effective, and require no calibration and effectively zero maintenance. They’re a reliable low-tech solution that is extremely afforable. They’re not going away any time soon. :wink:

1 Like


Now I’m going to have to buy a new replica shirt. It’s just like football teams.


Does this mean that they are planning to invade a country with more vegetation?


What I’m actually most interested about is that this pattern has gotten away from being a digital pattern as the UCP was. It was my understanding that the pixelation actually produced less obvious contrasting at range than traditional “paint blotch” patterns.

Then again, most of the extant digital camouflage patterns, based off the Marines MARPAT system, are single-environment. This being for the Army, it’s a multiple-environment pattern (as was the UCP before it), and it’s meant to work in as many situations as possible. Perhaps digital patterns just aren’t as suited to a broader range of environments?

Mr Man Yes. Are there any regiments which are more effeminate than others?
RSM Well, no sir. I mean, apart from the Marines, they’re all dead butch.
Mr Man You see, what I really wanted was a regiment where I could be really quiet and have more time to myself to work with fabrics, and creating new concepts in interior design.
RSM Working with fabrics and experimenting with interior design!
Mr Man Yes.
RSM Oh well you want the Durham Light Infantry then, sir.
Mr Man Oh.
RSM Oh yes. That’s the only regiment that’s really doing something new with interior design, with colour, texture, line and that.
Mr Man I see.
RSM Oh yes, I mean their use of colour with fabrics is fantastic. I saw their pattern book the other day - beautiful, beautiful. Savage tans, great slabs of black set against aggressive orange. It really makes you want to shout out, this is good! This is real!



Pixelated patterns are/were a new idea from about 10 years ago, but depending on the style of cap it may be the Marines or Army, each of which has their own desert/digital pattern. Of course.

I’ve found descriptive direct questions such as yours to message boards like these to be more helpful than poring over small squares of patterns, given the ability to drill down for more details to help out (What kind of cap? Are there any labels?), but if you like to pore, Wiki’s your thing:

1 Like

I thought the digital one didn’t work?

I have a couple German coats in “flectarn” camo and a couple Swiss jackets in the reddish “alpenflage” pattern.

I paid about $5 for the Swiss jackets. I love the detailing and trying to figure out what it’s for. The Swiss jackets have a sort of internal suspender running from the shoulder running down to a couple large belt loops set quite high on the jacket. Eventually I figured out that these were to help support the weight of a web belt with canteen, ammo, or pistol. Also, the breast pockets are sized to hold assault rifle magazines.;

1 Like

So if it’s digital camouflage, does that make it easier for computerized vision systems to identify the pattern and use it as metadata about incoming attackers?

1 Like

Multicam has always been the better “universal” camouflage pattern. Everybody has known this for a while. It’s about time the US military drops the bright, ugly pixelated mess that is “ACU”.

German flecktarn is also great for darker vegetation/autumn colors.


pretty similar, yeah – except the palette is more tan/sage green/olive green, not browns or greys. it actually looks exactly like this: there is a label on the inside/top, and it says “Patrol Cap” and has some numbers, the make, the size, and how to wash and care for it. there’s also a fuzzy velcro strip across the back, and a pocket inside the top, both of which i assume went together to hold maybe a piece of cloth you could attach to the back to protect your neck from the sun. (purely guesswork on my part).

1 Like

Sure but there are intermediate solutions as well. For example you could use 3D printing/manufacture to make the uniforms on site, with software to design appropriate camouflage patterns based on data from cameras carried by personnel.

1 Like

You know, with a few changes of hue I think you get one of Monet’s waterlillies


I’m really annoyed my camo Barbie needs a new outfit. Anybody here do really tiny tailoring?

1 Like

imaging the bugs
“When was the Antarctic Purple and Pink.”

1 Like

MARPAT desert?

3D printing. Of woven cloth BDUs. In the field.

Yeah, no. The problem isn’t how or where you manufacture the BDUs. The problem is suiting them to a specific environment. Active camouflage can theoretically change on the fly to suit any location at all, but passive camouflage has to be suited to work in various different locations within a general region.

Soldiers move a lot. They cross a lot of terrain, and they need camouflage that operates just as well in one spot as it does 100 yards away.

A tree bark pattern works a lot better than other patterns when you’re standing against trees (of the correct species, of course), but it doesn’t work so well when you’re in dense underbrush, or on top of lichen covered rocks. If you’re slogging through the dense woods somewhere, you’re going to encounter all three sub-conditions of the woodland environment in close proximity to one another, and you need camouflage that works in all of them.

Militaries already extensively research specific environments and then tailor their patterns to work throughout those regions. Woodland camouflage is meant to work reasonably well across all the various sub-locations you might find within a woodland area. It wouldn’t make sense to produce more specific patterns than they already do, because then you run into the problem of the tree bark pattern while in underbrush, as mentioned above.

Active camouflage can overcome this limitation because it can change as often as you need it to, and adjust to changes as small as a few inches.

There’s just no reason to do as you suggest. 3D printed cloth is almost certainly not going to be of a sufficient quality to serve as BDUs, and is definitely going to be more expensive than traditional textile loom weaves for many years to come.

There’s no reason to manufacture the garments in the field either - even if you wanted to change passive camouflage frequently, you already need to have a supply line, just add the alternate BDUs to that logistical system.