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ADS Unveils Army Camouflage Finalist PatternsADS Tactical

We just received the following information from ADS regarding their US Army Camouflage Improvement Effort finalist patterns developed in conjunction with Guy Cramer. As you know from reading SSD, they submitted two pattern families named Alpha and Delta. We previously broke the story on the Delta patterns during SHOT Show. Interestingly, the cleaner Alpha pattern (seen here) outperformed the Delta variants during the Army’s Picture-in-Picture down-select process. Here are the first images and descriptions of the patterns released to the public. While these images are simulated, meaning the pattern has been superimposed on an ACU coat and an armor vest, they do give you a great idea of how the environmental-specific patterns will work with their OCIE pattern.

About the Army Family of Camouflage Program and US4CESâ„¢ Version-A
ADS, and partner Guy Cramer, is part of the down-select to participate in the development of a new family of camouflage patterns for the U.S. Army that are effective across myriad environments. ADS and Cramer submitted two families of patterns, US4CESâ„¢ Version-A and Version-D, with US4CESâ„¢ Version-A being selected.

The current effort, now in Phase IV and managed by PEO Soldier, is a rigorous technical evaluation backed by solid scientific analysis and critical Soldier input from the field. With the U.S. Government concluding that one color scheme for all environments with the Army Combat Uniform was too much of a compromise; they recognized the need for specific color schemes for each key environment to provide a more effective camouflage. The Army requirement is to find one pattern configuration with separate colors for Woodland, Arid (Desert) and Transitional environments. In addition, the Army is also interested in a potential fourth pattern for Organizational Clothing and Individual Equipment (OCIE) and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) which is meant to work with the three other patterns.

US4CES™Version-A (Alpha) and Version-D (Delta) were designed specifically for the U.S. Army “Family of Camouflage Program”. These Digital Textured Patterns feature the latest advances in camouflage research for reduced signature and enhanced survivability.

While US4CES™ Version-D did not make the U.S. Army’s final Phase IV testing, the only difference between the Version-A and Version-D is the feathering of the four colors within Version-D, otherwise the two families are identical – including the colors used.

Why Digital?
Advanced Camouflage research first lead to the square pixel pattern “CADPAT” being issued by Canadian Forces in the late 1990’s. Later, objective studies conducted by the U.S. Military concluded that a digital pattern, when applied correctly, reduces detectability by nearly 50% when compared to more traditional “Analog Shaped” 3-color NATO patterns and un-patterned targets. MARPAT (the U.S. Marine Corps Pattern) is a direct copy of CADPAT, recolored with permission from the Canadian Government. Current Digital Patterns such as MARPAT and CADPAT use square and rectangular pixels but the small size of both the larger Macropattern (Spatial Frequency – blotches) and Micropattern (pixels) in these two patterns tend to blend into one color at tactical combat distances.

Digital patterns outperform analog (non-pixelated) shapes because they are superior at re-creating natural fractals (geometric shapes found in nature) which the brain interprets as background noise. Digital patterns also generate advanced Micro- and Macropatterns, providing the optimum breakup of the human form at multiple distances, in multiple environments.

Fractals could be represented by analog shapes, but this crosses boundaries that approach complete mimicry. Complete mimicry works in very specific environments that are identical to what is being mimicked but provides an extremely limiting range of functionality. Mimicry patterns look out of place in anything but the environment it was designed to operate in whereas a fractal digital pixel pattern has been refined to not only work across multiple backgrounds but also disrupt the human shape and human movement even when the pattern may not blend in completely across a particular environment by preventing the brain from detecting and recognizing a shape.

How US4CESâ„¢ Works
Colorations: Predominant colors make up the majority of the pattern – Woodland features a high percentage of Olive Drab and Light Brown. Arid uses Khaki and Coyote as the main colors while Transitional features Olive and Golden Tan. The predominant colors are then contrasted with a darker color of the region to allow the pattern to break up. A smaller percentage of the color spectrum is used for a lighter shade which is perceived as natural reflections or gaps in the pattern and the darkest shade which is perceived as shadows or holes in the pattern.

Both the lightest areas and darkest areas use a large pixel (square) Macropattern format that has proven to be quite effective. This Macropattern also has a smaller fractal Micropattern of its own with smaller square pixels which are present around the borders of the large squares.

3-Dimensional Layering: Proprietary algorithms were used to create a boundary luminance gradient between colors, creating an illusion of 3-dimensional layering, while limiting the design to four colors. This added feature creates the illusion of depth, which the brain interprets not as a solid flat surface but rather as a textured surface with depth, tricking the brain into regarding the material as part of the natural environment.

Disrupting Shape and Masking Movement: The Macropattern is designed to disrupt the human shape as well as to mask movement. Key points within the pattern disrupt the pivot points of the limbs and torso making detection and identification very difficult.

Fractal Algorithms: Intrinsic to the technology behind US4CESâ„¢ is our proprietary fractal algorithm. Fractal algorithms duplicate natural fractals (geometric shapes found in nature). Developing camouflage without fractals leaves a critical component out of the design process. The brain interprets fractals as background noise and typically ignores the pattern as common to the environment (not worth further scrutiny), allowing a soldier wearing the camouflage a few extra precious seconds of time in concealment or to react to an adversary.

How US4CESâ„¢ Performs
ADS conducted internal objective testing before submitting US4CESâ„¢ to the Army and concluded the Transitional-A pattern exceeds the U.S. Navy’s AOR-2 pattern by 19.86% and OEF/OCP (MultiCam®) by 26.71% within transitional environments.

In addition, the Army concluded that US4CESâ„¢ Arid Version-D met and/or exceeded the baseline patterns within that environment but the feathering technique has been shown in this recent Army testing to degrade the overall performance in transitional and woodland environments.

Early response has shown US4CES Version-A to be highly effective in Objective and Subjective testing. And, while the point of camouflage is tactical effectiveness – not aesthetic appearance, US4CES Version-A presents a professional and progressive look for a modern Army. The pattern is crisp and clean, without the cluttered or overly stimulating feel of previous digital patterns.

Where to find US4CESâ„¢ Family of Camouflage
Not yet for sale, but part of formal Army testing, it might be difficult to get your hands on clothing and gear made from US4CES Family of Camouflage for a while. Soon, however, ADS reps will have complete sets of Army Combat Uniforms in US4CES Arid, Transitional, and Woodland, as well as gear in OCIE/PPE patterns. To see these patterns, reach out to your ADS representative today.

For more information visit www.adsinc.com/us4ces-a.

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82 Responses to “ADS Unveils Army Camouflage Finalist PatternsADS Tactical

  1. Adam says:

    Looks to me like the third generation of MARPAT (with AOR 1 & 2 being the second gen). Be that as it may, it looks good and I am sure is a very effective pattern(s). I’m personally waiting to see what Caleb and the guys brought to the table to top their own beloved Multicam.

  2. Martin says:

    At the industry day didn’t they specifically say that the Army had determined digital patterns had been found ineffective?

    • Guy Cramer says:

      No they said UCP (Universal Camouflage Pattern) was ineffective. AOR-1 and AOR-2 are 4 color replicas of UCP which is based off of MARPAT which is based off of CADPAT. All these continue to test well in their respective environments. UCP was not a digital pattern issue but a color issue.

  3. Mike says:

    I will lose my mind if the Army uses a MARPAT variation……. Fingers crossed for multicam.

    • straps says:

      Multicam (the pattern) isn’t an entrant.

      Crye (the company that created Multicam) has an entry in the final four.

    • Connor says:

      Haha, Mike I was thinking the exact same thing. I’m pulling for Crye Precision or Kryptek

  4. Yessir says:


  5. Jason says:

    Maybe its just me but the desert seems to have a “pink” tint to it. I like the woodland with OCIE though. They go surprisingly good together.

    • Guy Cramer says:

      No it’s beige.

      • Guy Cramer says:

        I should also add that unless your monitor is calibrated, you will not see the colors as intended.

        • Jason says:

          Roger, makes sense. I like your patterns but I’m really just hoping for anything quick to get me out of this God awful grey. Also hoping for this big swatch of velcro on the sleeves to go away!

    • Yessir says:

      Looks pinkish to me too. Personally, I would rather do without than have to wear one of these into theater. There are so many better options out there. At 75 yards, you’re a single color blob with any of these. You dropped the ball again, Natick.

    • straps says:

      Ya know what else turns tan pink?

      Detergents with the brighteners that people who carry guns for a living are told not to use. (real world, not likely these pics)

      UCP has similar problems; it looks pretty bad in a lot of day-lit environments, but digital photos look even wose when they capture phosphorescent reflections of uniforms recently washed with brightener-laced detergents. Even worse outside visible light spectrum, when the “Tron” effects kick in.

    • Jon says:

      Granted it isn’t pink, I would like to note that some pink hues have been proven to be very, very effective in combat. Even the old DCUs have kind of a pink hue to it in certain light. Also, look at the old “pink panther” land rovers the SAS rolled in during Desert Storm. However, grunts don’t like to wear pink garb, so the idea is usually tossed aside.

  6. Swiat34 says:

    Jason, Desert MARPAT has a pink tinge to it also when it’s brand new but fades into a better brown and tan. Adam, AOR1 and 2 are MARPAT with the exception of the EGAs in the pattern. They were created for use by US Navy and some USAF SOF people. It doesn’t surprise me that the Army is now considering what the Marines knew all along. Now to simplify things they need to adopt Coyote Tan gear to simplify supply. Besides, CT blends well with both woodland and desert environments. Otherwise they would need to issue two sets of gear colored in each camo pattern to each soldier…that’s logistically unsound.

    • Adam says:

      They are similar, but different. AOR 2 is more green, less Coyote if any at all, and is oriented in a different plane than MARPAT.

  7. CAVstrong says:

    Has, anyone seen Brookstone’s entry?
    Ive seen alot of talk about Crye’s submission, Kryptek and ADS but nothing from brookstone.

    BTW, Guy I like it, and I’d be happy to wear it.

    • straps says:

      Brookstone is the store at he mall that sells massage chairs and clock radio/blow dryer combos.

      Brookwood is the nylon fabric mill.

  8. Frank says:

    This is bordering on the ridiculous. MARPAT looking patterns are emerging as the front runners. How much money have we spent on this boondoggle? I was a Marine and it was cool to have our own pattern but damn, the SecDef should have just said MARPAT for all 10 years ago and moved on.

  9. PLiner says:

    Seriously, thats what is being considered? “The kings new camouflage” is what this whole camo debacle should be called. Unbelievable, loss of words, hands thrown up in the air. The inmates are running the asylum.

  10. Swiat34 says:

    Frank, that’s exactly what I’d thought of the process back then. Marines get MARPAT and everyone else the AORs. Let the army have their mandarin collars and Velcro all over and we Marines keep our stuff sewn and pinned and embroidered on. How much money has the Army WASTED doing all the camo research twice now, buying ACU, Buying Multicam and now to buy two patterns they should have had a decade ago?

    • Greg says:

      The army has gotten rid of some of the useless velcro and zippers and going back to bottons, and have already let them sew on their patches again. And maybe put the ranks back on the collar too. Now if they can NBC roll the sleeves again and black suede the boots then were all set. But woodland, arid camos are a good start for them right now.

    • majrod says:

      Swiat – Uh, you do know the Marines started all this crap? They were the first and ONLY branch to copyright a uniform pattern in our history! The Army was fine with Marines using Army developed duck camo in WWII/Korea, Army ERDL after Nam and Army BDUs in the 80s-90s. It was only after the USMC copyrighted their pattern, said no to other branches using their patterns (again for the first time in history) did we find ourselves in the present situation with EIGHT camo patterns.

      So if you want to ding the Army for Velcro and patches fine. There are pros and cons to what the Army does but complaining about any waste of money is like throwing stones from a glass bunker.

  11. Nick the Brit says:

    As an end user, I like it – I’m not necessarily on the multi-cam band wagon (and have worn it). I’m just pissed about having to buy new pouches for a fifth time!

  12. Greg says:

    When you think of it it’s kind of funny, it’s basically an enlarged modified version of MARPAT while the Marines have a smaller convient version. Hence the “big army big blocks” and the marines are a “small force small blocks” makes sense.

  13. Darius137 says:

    I am glad that we’re improving with a Family of Patterns. UCP/ACU was useless.

    Also I like the idea of a transitional pattern for the gear over the Coyote the Marines use.

    BUT I still think this pattern will be a blob at further distances. I was really rooting for the PenCott family because of the Macro pattern.

    I dunno. We’ll see how this plays out. As long as Kryptek Snowboarderflage doesn’t win, I will be happy in the uniform. I’m tired of the poor stitching and color scheme of what I have to wear now.

  14. Chuck says:

    I like that black is back in. I would find it rather humurous to see the Army adopt a pattern with a color that “isn’t found in nature”. They look pretty good from where I’m sitting and like they would one up multicam in woodland and arid regions. Not sure about being able to beat it in transitional.

  15. mcantu says:

    the PPE pattern needs to have one of the lighter colors from the Arid pattern in it. otherwise its still dark aiming point on a light background…same as coyote on desert MARPAT

    • straps says:

      Local soils will darken or lighten the transitional pattern as needed in 3-5 days in country.

      This happens to the Coyote gear Marines wear.

    • straps says:

      The solid-color webbing doesn’t help either…

      • Greg says:

        Solid might not be innovative but plain Coyote brown and Ranger green or old OD are much simpler and cheaper to use and produce in mass. The USMC did make good use of brown and beige over any camo in Iraq and the Stan and made it look pretty good, beige/brown is the new OD green.

  16. straps says:

    Cool thanks for posting this scoop.

    Now go find us pics of the other 3 entrants.

    Time will tell whether this stuff is being leaked because as was predicted yesterday the Army’s own entrant is the pre-ordained winner.

    Which will suck because we’ll have to do the whole “buy our own gear, prove its superiority, have it tested in Afghanistan or North(ern) Korea or wherever” thing once again…

    • SSD says:

      I’ve already shown Kryptek, Brookwood seems to be ducking me and Crye does not plan to release their entry. The Natick entry should be revealed next week.

      • straps says:

        I kid, I kid (but I wasn’t aware the Kryptek LEAF was the entrant).

        Thanks for the gouge.

      • Sean says:

        What would be the worst case scenerio for these patterns shown in this article. I can’t wait to get my hands on the transitional . AOR2 is great and this is everything I wish I could of changed in the AOR2. I would bet you are looking at at least 2 of the 3 if not all 3 of the final picks. I want my G3 sets in this stuff .

  17. Olvera says:

    As long as i dont have acu i will be happy

    • Justin says:

      I’m with you on that. While I think it’s stupid to field yet another uniform pattern when we have multicam ready to go, ACU needs to go

    • Riceball says:

      Sorry to say but you probably will have the ACU for the forseeable future, this competition isn’t for a new uniform design but for a new camouflage for the uniform. The current uniform design fielded by the Army is the ACU (Army Combat Uniform) in UCP (Universal Camouflage Pattern) and Multicam. Whatever patterns the Army ends up selecting will almost certainly be printed on to an ACU style/pattern uniform.

      • SSD says:

        Thanks for reiterating the truth!

      • Sean says:

        A friend who is still in the Army said he heard from a higher up that the universal ACU will be fully gone altogether by next year one way or another. They want everyone not deployed in a combat role switched out by 2013. So bye bye ACU! Worst crap ever , even next to cement and in urban areas where it was suppose to be the best it is lame. I would rather wear solid green or coyote. I know of many guys who took a bullet and think its due to sticking out like sore thump. How was it ever approved. How did they look at it in trials and say yes? The USMC should hsbe never been allowed to have the MARPATS and not the Army. Everyone should have what’s best. I love seeing the new patterns when they are released and getting new kit is always cool but the process of the trials and all the red tape makes me sick.

        • Army Officer says:


          You know how the Army is about hurting the brass feelings. They always wait a decade to implement a change. It happened with the beret and now it will happen with the ACU.

          They should of just went with AOR eons ago but I truly like this pattern and since we cannot get MARPAT, we can get something that is similar to it that works.

          I wonder with three uniforms how it will be divvy out? 2 sets of transitional and 1 set of woodland and arid?

  18. Aaron says:

    No green in the PPE…are you serious Guy? You know that desert environments do have greenery right? You’re Brutal!

    And to the dude that thinks AOR is the same as MARPAT…pixelation is the same, the orientation however is horizontal vs being vertical. The Colors are also different in both AOR I and II. NWU III has much brighter greens and the browns are lighter…the seabees look SICK in them.

  19. Paralus says:

    So many awesome patterns, so little money….it is a veritable smorgasbord of camo out there. It will be good to see these filter down to consumers.

  20. Stoney says:

    I honestly couldn’t care if that pattern was an exact copy of the Canadians or Marines. I will just be glad to not be wearing gray/blue any more. I have to go to the Ghan to wear anything earth colored. It’ll be nice to wear something that actually looks like earth back home when training or any other location besides the Ghan.

  21. looks good ! need one thats a lite pattern .

  22. Ken says:

    Interesting. Woodland and transitional look like a two different shades of a digitized M81 and the desert version like an upgraded chocolate chip, lol! Sigh….

  23. Jack says:

    Transitional looks a tad too dark…

  24. Josh says:

    What the hell was ever wrong with multicam?

    • Gear Guy says:

      Nothing is wrong with Multicam, but it is not the end all, be all of camo patterns for the three environments that the family of patterns is supposed to cover. You have to keep in mind that it was fielded as a transitional pattern for use in a specific AOR.

  25. Jeff says:

    I don’t see the point in having the OCIE/PPE as a different color then transitional, wouldn’t it make more sense to have a green based woodland, tan based desert with a in between as your transitional and OCIE/PPE? Think MARPAT Woodland, Desert, with Mirage as your transitional and OCIE/PPE

  26. ROland says:

    Looks Great….SEND IT!

  27. Jack Luz says:

    Now the Army needs to come up with a better combat fatigue design. The ACU is a piece of crap and combat veterans are unable to proudly display their CIBs.

  28. Alan says:

    Let me preface this by saying it is a million times better than the fuct up UCP,
    Where in nature is there digital grid squares. Those squares form very distinctive,sharp lines,especially the dark color,whatever it is called.
    I would think Multicam,ATACS-FG or anything that uses(d) a rounded shape and edges…like the old German Camo.

    Maybe I’m just wrong,but even in the pic the square,angled lines are very pronounced,where rounded shapes would be much better I think.

    Anyone agree?
    So…Is this now THE Army camo pattern? I mean written in stone,”we’re gonna do it” current camo pattern?

    • Gear Guy says:


      Not to be a dick, but reading is fundamental!

      The digital grid square information has been explained a few times and the the information presented in the article above has a ton of valuable information related to how the eyes see these patterns at distance. Reread the Why Digital portion of the article and you should have one of those head smack moments, hopefully.

    • SSD says:

      This is part of a competition. The embedded links in the article give you all kinds of background on the subject.

      • Alan says:

        No offense taken,and I read the article, I just dont see how crye, on one hand, which everyone agrees works so well and is the best thing since ERDL,yet has no angled shapes or digital squares,is somehow inferior to a digital pattern in the Army’s eyes. I am afraid,again,the wrong decision is being made just because “everybody else is wearing digital,we have to as well”.

        • Gear Guy says:

          Well there hasn’t been an award yet, just the down select to the four players, plus the Army’s submission. The next step is printing the selected patterns onto fabric and then manufacturing garments, OCIE, etc. for further evaluation with live humans. Nothing is final as of yet, so we will all have to wait and see what happens during the next round of trials.

          Also keep in mind that Brookwood and Crye, have not, and probably will not, released their submissions. So we have no idea what either has submitted.

        • mcantu says:

          pixelized edges is just one aspect of a camo pattern. there’s also the colors, contrast, depth, macropatterns, etc., to take into consideration. multicam achieves something similar to the digital patterns by having high resolution fades into neighboring colors. and according to the article above, this round of tests has shown that the hard edge patterns perform better than the ones with fades (not the 90’s haircuts btw).

          iirc, past tests have shown that MC works very well in areas like Afghanistan but not so good in pure woodland or desert areas. of course, it was never meant to so that really cant be held against it…

        • Aaron says:

          Multicam is a digital pattern, it not being pixelated doesn’t mean it’s an analogue pattern.

  29. Strike-Hold! says:

    Alan – this is just ONE of the contenders for the Army’s next-generation family of camouflage patterns. There are 3 other commercial companies with pattern families in the competition, and there will also be 1 pattern family designed by Natick.

    These will all now be printed on fabrics and tested out in the real world, then the results will be analysed, and a cost-benefit-analysis conducted before the Army makes a decision about whether (or not!) to adopt a new family of patterns.

    So no, this isn’t THE Army camo pattern now…

  30. Sean says:

    Yes! This is exactly what I’ve been saying all along!
    I have been telling everyone go with AOR2 for basiclly everything
    . Unless in a pure sand environment stay with AOR2 and thats basically what this is. It’s a digi woodland with more sand and browns. In Afghanistan from Day one I thought Army and the USMC and anyone on the ground should be in AOR2. It blends better than anything I’ve seen. It’s actually very cool how much it turns into the same color as the mud malls and dirt but in woodland areas it will show its greens . What a great choice. I love the transitional but the woodland is awesome to. Great choices! I’m excited to get my G3 sets in the new transitional. These will beat anything out there I’m sure of it.

  31. James D says:

    Why are they spending money, when we already have the best available already out. MultiCam has proven so much, and even the Air Force has issued it out, along with the Army. Get rid of the digital all together, because it is not at all working. Marines are the only ones who have had any success with a digital pattern. Army UCP has been a disaster all the way.

    • mcantu says:

      at this point its mainly the individual companies that are spending money to develop new patterns.

      where are you getting that digital patterns arent effective? CADPAT/MARPAT (and their derivatives) are consistently shown to be among the most effective patterns. its solely UCP that jumped the shark…

    • Greg says:

      You know what they say 3rd try is the charm, have faith my friend.

  32. audie murphy says:

    maybe with all the green the armys gonna shed out to field new cammies well get some new uniforms without velcro and shit.

  33. Greg says:

    Or sometimes 4th XD

  34. Jeff says:

    I wonder if Natick is going to use the All Over Brush camo used back in the old UCP contest.

  35. Matt says:

    I like the ATAC camo

  36. BTDT says:

    This is 100 times better than our ACU failure.

    Just get us something in olives and tans. Multicam, ADS Woodland, etc.

    It is sad when a “Professional Army” is failing at the one basic uniform it puts on daily and can not get this right after 7 years of Generals doing nothing to fix it.

    How many Generals does it take to fix this after 7+ years? Or will this test like many before it get put in the file 13.