We just received the following information from ADS regarding their US Army Camouflage Improvement Effort finalist patterns developed in conjunction with Guy Cramer. Read the full story below.

About the Army Family of Camouflage Program and US4CES™ 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, US4CES™ Version-A and Version-D , with US4CES™ 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?

US4CES Version-A Swatches

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 US4CES™ 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 US4CES™ 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 US4CES™ Performs

US4CES-A comparison chart

ADS conducted internal objective testing before submitting US4CES™ 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 US4CES™ 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 US4CES™ 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.

Contact ADS for more info on ADS U.S. Army Family of Camouflage Program – US4CES™ Version-A (Alpha).