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HyperStealth Talks Army Scorpion Camo

In Part 2 of U.S. Army Camouflage Improvement Explained, Hyperstealth Biotechnology Corp front man Guy Cramer takes a look at the US Army’s Scorpion camouflage pattern. For those unfamiliar, Scorpion bears a distinct similarity to MultiCam because Crye Precision developed them both. Scorpion was created as part of the Future Force Warrior program under contract to Natick while MultiCam is the fruit of Crye’s independent refinement of the pattern once FFW (later OFW) was abandoned.


Read the entire article here.

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45 Responses to “HyperStealth Talks Army Scorpion Camo”

  1. robert says:

    Guy Cramer, you magnificent bastard, I read your article! You make a better detective than Christopher Nolan’s Batman!

  2. This guy says:

    Information overload! Well put together though and I have to say the more photos I see of the US4CES the more I like it. Thanks for taking the time to explain it all.

  3. JohnC says:

    Well, heck, I’ll repost:

    Honestly, I see a worthwhile pop-sci book here (in an apparently vacant market). A sort of Oiver-Sacks-meets-Max-Boot-meets-Tyler-Cowen-meets-Mary-Roach narrative re the history of camouflage and its pixilated misadventures; tinkering with gestalt; the non-triviality of aesthetics; the narrowness of perception in a world of sensory clamor; and the broader question of what it is and is not to be seen. Plus camouflage porn galore (and lots of other pictures, so Marines can follow along). Working title: Hide and Seek. [Sadly, I just discovered it was already taken.]

    A surefire hit, at least among the assuredly large class of people with economics and math degrees turned LEO who are overly fascinated by Dyneema.

  4. ST Doc says:

    Thank you Mr. Cramer. I was wondering about the scorpion pattern that was briefly mentioned in your first article. I must say I really do like your US4CES family of patterns. Your OCIE/PPE pattern is brilliant! One request from an inquisitive mind, do you have any info on the “universal”/transitional AOR pattern? As an AOR wearer I would love some info. All I have found so far is this sparse info from kit-up:

  5. Steven S says:

    I was intrigued in finding out that woodland scorpion with multicam PPE worked better than matching PPE. I also liked how mr. cramer pointed out the differences between scorpion and multicam since I never took a good look at the two to notice the major but hidden differences. The discovery of desert multicam isn’t anything new to me. I knew about it from the same place SSD found out.

  6. Derek says:

    How SSD/GG I want to know when I can get some gray Oakley’s 🙂

  7. paul says:

    Thats a sweet multicam CCU (close combat uniform). I’ve only seen it in DCU.

  8. OC Tactical says:

    To set the record straight, Crye didn’t tell me directly it was not theirs. Another well know and trusted industry member said they showed my photos to Crye and was told it wasn’t theirs.

  9. 1RFoxhound says:

    Mr Cramer Sir,

    Since you are an expert on the military side of cam and concealment, I am wondering if you could answer a camo-related question, please.

    It’s one thing camouflaging forces but the flip-side is recognition/IFF, especially if we are working in coalition environments where uniforms and patterns will continue to differ.

    Has your research thrown up any effective system (or SOPs) that can be used for visual/IR/thermal recognition of forces? Camouflage can help prevent recognition and detection of a soldier in the first place, but once the human eye picks out a human figure is there a way you assist in having them id’d as friendly WITHOUT jeopardising their ability to avoid recognition and detection in the first place? I know it sounds like too much like a mutually exclusive paradox, but I’m wondering if you’ve identified that a large single-colour patch on the shoulder and rear of head-dress, for example, won’t compromise one’s overall camouflage effect but, once a figure is made out, will provide a rapid indication that they are friendly.

    It seems every ISAF nation is well into flags being plastered on shoulders but I’m more interested in close country/jungle type ops where cam and concealment is a different ball game (and, speaking from my experiences, we never practised cam and concealment in Afghanistan in 98% of our tasks given the mission and the reliance on vehicles). My observation, too, is that the flags never worked as combat ID but were good for non-tac recognition at close range, both at the bazaar and at the mess hall.

    Of course, the US Army’s UCP was a wonderful IFF system – if we ever saw a fluorescent grey figure walking around we instantly knew exactly who they were!

    Thanks for your time and best of luck for the camouflage competition.

    • Guy Cramer says:

      My expertise is in concealment, so to ask me what’s cutting edge in detection was beyond my level of knowledge and understanding, but in developing camouflage it becomes important to understand what the opposite end of the spectrum is, so in the past few years I’ve been asked to help solve problems in this area, which has allowed me access to information I would normally have not been privy to.

      This is a very big issue with our Quantum Stealth (Light Bending Material), once the Tier 1 teams have seen the demonstration, it’s one of the first questions they ask: Now that we can’t be seen in the Visual, IR and Thermal, how do we avoid being accidentally shot by our own team or other friendly forces? We are involved in solutions but I am unable to discuss them.

      While this really doesn’t provide the answer you are looking for, I hope it sheds some light on why we can’t disclose answers for reasons of security.

      • JBAR says:

        Mr. Cramer,
        What is your experience and/or thoughts regarding the public being able to acquire the same camo? I know that it has always been the case, but it seems the world is a smaller place now. If the Army is going through this effort, and the other side is the availability to sell the same pattern commercially, do you think that that is an issue?

        • Guy Cramer says:

          I actually raised this issue at the Army Day meeting at the Army Reasearch Lab back in December 2010. The answer comes down to budgets and the Army looked at costs for exclusive ownership (not available commercially) and the option of a much smaller royalty – Government license while allowing the company that wins to retain commercial sales.

          The Army understands the trade off with this option and in today’s budget issues (in hindsight), it probably saved this program from the chopping block.

    • Steven S says:

      This is may help you. It is from a presentation by General Dynamics.

      “Implications of Fractal Discrimination for Camouflage and Combat ID
      Based on this and other work we can enumerate some implications for camouflage and combat
      ID: (i) Natural images have 1/f ???? spatial amplitude spectra. The most reasonable value of ???? for
      general purpose camouflage is around 1.1. Particular environments will vary in this statistic and
      in coloration. (ii) Keeping the difference between the ????target and ????background less than 0.2 generally
      avoids preattentive popout, but discrimination will still be possible using a point-by-point search.
      (iii) Using many spatial scales makes camouflage effectiveness almost independent of distance.
      (iv) For IFF purposes, friendly camouflage schemes should have different ????s than the unfriendly
      camouflage patterns, but this may conflict with concealment goals. The best outcome would be
      for hostile and friendly camouflage statistics to be on opposite sides of the ????background value, with
      the friendly scheme not easily discriminable from background but discriminable from the hostile.
      (v) For identification purposes, side-by-side viewing of sensor and reference images is
      preferable. Sensor operators should be screened for spatial sampling problems (sub-clinical
      amblyopia) by measuring their contrast sensitivity functions. (vi) It may be possible to break
      many camouflage schemes by adding filtered noise to the sensor images. This seemingly
      perverse aspect of stochastic resonance should be exploited if possible. Since stochastic
      resonance’s effectiveness is often dependent on the Fourier spectral qualities of the noise, fractal
      camouflage may be particularly vulnerable (because the spectral qualities of simple fractals are
      easily matched by varying one noise parameter). Multi-fractals may be less vulnerable in this
      regard. It would be ironic if the beautiful mathematical attributes of fractals (which give it so much utility in describing the natural environment and make it such an elegant solution to the
      problem of designing camouflage) also prove to be its Achilles’ heel.”

      • Steven S says:

        Ignore the quoted section. Some of the stuff didn’t get properly pasted. Just go to the “Implications of Fractal Discrimination for Camouflage and Combat ID” section in the link.

  10. 1RFoxhound says:

    And one more question, if you don’t mind – what is the relationship between the New Zealand pattern and US4CES? Having looked at your website they seem rather similar, except I’m guessing that the US4CES pattern uses larger pixels/squares in the micro pattern and a different/brighter set of colours?

    • Guy Cramer says:

      The New Zealand Army was requiring one pattern with one color palette to replace their DPM and Desert DPM. I don’t write the specifications or know why a country decides to go this route, my job is to meet the requirement.

      We had provided a number of options and this was the one they wanted to move forward with. There are more ways than one to achieve an effective camouflage pattern, look at the differences in the four finalist for the U.S. Army program.

      Digital Pixels work when colored properly, scale of Pixel has an influence on both effectiveness and aesthetics, would a larger pixel like US4CES have made the pattern more effective, perhaps but the trade off in athletics may have changed the outcome as the decision between the two most effective patterns came down to this aesthetic factor.

      The U.S. Army was not looking for aesthetics, so I was free to expand on the effective aspects without worrying too much about the trade off with looks. The A-10 Thunderbolt (Warthog) may not look pretty, but it is effective, the look has become accepted (it grows on you) and strikes fear in the enemy, due to the effectiveness. US4CES was designed to work as camouflage on every level, there is an alluring quality in functionality.

      • Marcos says:

        i’ll never understand why countries that have tropical jungles are going for “universal”/transitional camo patterns

        • Guy Cramer says:

          New Zealand is a Transitional country, with sub tropical in the North and Caniferous in the south, and transitional I between. They did test the pattern in the sub tropical against their current DPM.

          • Marcos says:

            thanks. i’d always heard that DPM was the most effective pattern for jungle environments.

            i think many people assume that woodland camos will automatically work well in jungles but i dont believe thats true, is it? in pics i have seen of Marines in woodland MARPAT training with soldiers in S. Korea and Singapore, their new patterns are a better match for the areas than MARPAT

  11. wheeler says:

    Thanks, this is the best reading for the morning!

  12. Steven S says:

    Mr. Cramer, I recall you saying awhile back that you created a pixelated version of multicam. What ever happen to it and if you are willing to disclose some info on it’s peformance then how much better did it do in reducing detection and recognition compared to the original multicam?

    • Guy Cramer says:

      We never tested it, I was holding onto the copyright to help protect (Crye) Multicam from designers which were going to attempt that step, I had discussed this with Caleb Crye. Crye has since patented a digital (pixelated) version of Multicam. I don’t believe their intension at this time is to release it but in securing the Intellectual Property to stop others from providing it.

  13. John says:

    Mr. Cramer
    When do you believe the “quantum smart camo” will be available to law enforcement and eventually the public?

    Would the general ideas of the technology used in it be able to be made by another company even if they did not have the specifics?