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Digital Concealment Systems Announcement Regarding US Army Camouflage Improvement Effort

This statement was received this morning from Digital Concealment Systems

In advance of the US Army Camouflage Improvement effort down select due to take place on December 15th, we wish to inform our loyal supporters and partners that we will not be a part of the final down select. As the process moves forward we wish all of the finalists the best.

With regards to our pattern family submission, we set out to do something radically different from the accepted norm, based on our A-TACS concept, but wholly unique. The pattern submission was designed and specifically suited to meet the requirements set forth in the initial RFP. However, our patterns use more color and use it in a different way than most patterns, making them a challenge to evaluate using the pre-existing and outdated methodology for evaluation outlined in the RFP–the same methodology that produced the current UCP pattern. Often times, it is easier to take the path of least resistance than to raise the bar and develop new standards. After all, the end result is to offer the best possible concealment to our service men and women.

Now with the introduction of our new A-TACS FG Camo platform, Digital Concealment Systems will coninue to focus on it’s core mission. To provide new technology and the very best concealment options to Special Operations, Law Enforcement and Tactical Professionals worldwide. It is our firm belief that those individuals who lay their lives on the line each and every day in service, deserve nothing less.


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19 Responses to “Digital Concealment Systems Announcement Regarding US Army Camouflage Improvement Effort”

  1. CAVstrong says:

    This statement concerns me “the pre-existing and outdated methodology for evaluation outlined in the RFP–the same methodology that produced the current UCP pattern”.

    I am anxious to see the patterns that actually made the cut….

  2. Strike-Hold! says:

    Actually, a new type of simulation technology was used for this process called “Picture-in-Picture” analysis, where-by a scaled image representing the silhouette of a soldier wearing a load carrying vest was inserted into a digital photograph of a particular type of background. This combined image was then shown to an observer who was timed on how long it took to spot the image. The longer it took, the better the camouflage – according to the theory.

    So, in theory this should not have effected how well this camo performed – becuase it wasn’t necessary to print it on to fabric at this stage.

    Also, this PIP analysis method was not used in the selection of UCP – there is no publicly-available information on how UCP was developed and approved (to the best of my knowledge).

  3. Chockblock says:

    Oh the prototype pattern that became UCP was DEAD LAST in the competition. Even after Natick removed the black. “Urban Track” is ugly, period.

    I hear police like it, supposedly because it works in the big cities. Or maybe many Podunkville SWAT teams are full of tactical fanboys.

    We got this pattern because the Army can’t look like the Marines. Oh no. That would be bad. Never mind that the pattern works and would have taxpayers money.

    • Haji says:

      I would bet that the reason UCP is popular with Police departments is that it comes to them free through the DRMO system.

  4. Strike-Hold! says:

    Urban Track bears no resemblance to UCP – except in 2 of the 3 colors used in UCP. UCP is exactly the same pattern geometry as MARPAT / CADPAT, but with 3 colors to represent 3 environments (except that one of those colors doesn’t look like any type of “foliage” beyond tumble weed).

  5. Guy Cramer says:

    The testing is subjective; they placed a photo of each pattern in a rectangular dimension that represented a soldier at a specific tactical distance of 46 yards in the middle of each background photo and the users would rank the apparent effectiveness from 0 (doesn’t work at all) to 100 (Blends in completely). The testing was not objective as the users were not timed as each pattern was directly in the middle of the photo (you knew where it was even if you couldn’t see it).

    In studies with more than 4-6 submissions you really don’t have the option of hiding every pattern for a timed objective test as each pattern would need to be in the same location so as to not bias the results. You can flip (mirror image) slides as the brain has difficulty with recognizing the same location, but once the brain has located the hiding place a few times as the slides repeat with new patterns, your eyes will zero in on the hiding place as it recalls where the previous target was in this same photo, thus ruining your results. The more patterns you test, the more often this will skew the results. So in order to do this properly with 20+ patterns; you place the pattern in an obvious location and ask people to rank it on apparent background blending within that photo.

    The same style of subjective testing previously done from NATICK for OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM (OEF): confirmed what most people had perceived about the Universal Camouflage Pattern (UCP). “The results for the UCP uniform with matching PPE (personal protective equipment), which is the currently fielded combination, are consistent with the anecdotal feedback that lead to the Congressional interest in an improved camouflage pattern for OEF: UCP is in the bottom 10 overall across all four backgrounds and did not perform well in any of them.”

    This style of testing did not produce UCP, it confirmed that UCP was not working. It also confirmed that Multicam (a 7 color pattern) was working “Based on the overall scores, all four of the MultiCam® variants were in the top 10…” This testing lead to Multicam being issued for the Army for OEF.

    • CAVstrong says:

      Wait a minute……..there are four Multivam Variants?

      BTW Hyperstealth makes some very interesting products I would be very interested to see what you submitted regardless of them be selected or not.

      • Guy Cramer says:

        No there is one Multicam in that test but they tested the pattern with 4 different PPE: Coyote, Ranger Green, Khaki and Match (Multicam) the top version was Multicam/with PPE Match (Multicam).

    • HooTracker says:

      Guy Cramer, Sounds like you had information that was unavailable to the other applicants. Hope that info actually made your submission better than the others and not just tailored to particular testing parameters.

  6. Jesse says:

    Ahh Variables. So Did you make it Guy? I have $10 riding on a foreign submission making it in the mix, so these are clearly high stakes we are riding on here.

  7. Buckaroomedic says:

    Sounds like someone got butt-hurt and needs a hug.

    Why the f**k is the Big Green Machine doing this, again?!? Let’s keep it simple; adopt MC (like the Army, Air Force, and half of NATO has already done) and call it good.

    What a F**king waste of taxpayer’s money and government time!

    • Guy Cramer says:

      As good as Multicam did overall it did not place in the top ten in Woodland (only scoring 72.5) and did even worse in Desert environments (scoring 58.3). While an all-in-one pattern may appear to be cost effective, what is the value of the life of the soldier who is asked to go into harms way with ineffective camouflage? 

      Let’s put this into perspective:The cost of one F-22 fighter plane  when factoring R@D comes out to $339 million per aircraft. The total program cost of the B2 Spirt (Stealth) Bomber averaged US$2.13 billion per aircraft. 

      This program costs pale in comparison and places value back on the individual soldier to provide them the best solution across most environments. 

  8. Orion307 says:

    None of this news is surprising to me. The response it does illicit is dissapointment. I wholheartedly agree with A-Tacs response to the Army using outdated methodology. There ARE better technologies out there that can and do provide the best possible end product in personal concealment. These technologies cannot be tested using the RFP’s current standards of testing. It is unfortunate that our military refuses to look towards the horizon on this subject.
    As Guy said they are willing to spend ludicrous amounts of money (taxpayers money) on a single warfighting vehicle but will cut the corners when it comes to the safety and survivability of the individual soldier. Not to mention the BILLIONS we give to foreign countries in aid (i.e. Pakistan) to harbour our most wanted HVT’s.
    It will be interesting and probably more frustrating as well as the list of companies that made the downselection becomes available to the public. Army wanted to ensure they didnt make another colossal mistake like they did with UCP. Looks to me they are heading down the same road.

  9. Bruce says:

    This methodology did NOT give us UCP. I believe it was Desert All Over Brush that won. UCP was pulled out of somebodies ass at Natick. If they had actually went with the winner, we would have an effective camo already.

    • Guy Cramer says:

      The 2002-2004 testing that concluded All-Over-Brush the winner was different than the current testing methodology. Multicam (called Contractor-Developed Mod in that study) placed third overall out of four patterns in that study.

      • Bruce says:

        Thanks for the clarification, but my point remains that their claim this methodolgy gave us UCP is false. UCP wasn’t tested against any other patterns before being issued.

  10. somebody says:

    I totally agree with the comments about putting this in perspective with stuff like the F22 / F35 program and the amount of money we’ve blown in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan already.

    But, Guy – how do you know so much about the ins-and-outs of the test procedures that Natick / PEO-Soldier have been doing in this initiative? Have you been involved in designing or conducting those tests?

    • Guy Cramer says:

      The OEF camouflage study is online and was made available to all groups before the competition; their methodology and conclusions are explained at length within the document.

      No I was not involved in either the design of these tests (or prior subjective testing) nor was I involved in the conduct of these tests.

      This current testing was triple blind: subjects, researchers and persons administering the tests did not know which patterns were being shown, so the end results could not be biased.

  11. Greg says:

    A real shame A-TACS was a close 3rd in line for me.