Today, there is nothing that quiet sums up the military like a piece of camouflage clothing and the patterns themselves say a great deal about the military organization, the historical context, and even the wearer. The journey for military camouflage has not been an easy one and our common understanding of military camouflage is a very recent development. And what about the future of military camo and will there be off-world camo patterns like we saw in Ad Astra? In this installment of FWS, we will be exploring and explaining the world, history, and future of military camouflage. Please note: this will be a limited scope article, there have volumes of books composed on the subject.
Sources for this Article:
What is Camouflage and What is Military Camouflage?
an article that spelled out the difference between hunting camo and military camo. For the modern military camouflage, the article uses Multicam as an example, is designed to be used while moving, against humans, and in various terrains. Hunting camo, the article uses RealTree Xtra as an example, is design for a single environment, while the hunter is still in motion, and it designed to be used against animals.
Why Does the Military use Camouflage Now and Why Didn't They for Centuries?
The art and science of obscuring yourself from your prey or from a predator or your enemy on the battlefield begin when our modern human ancestors several million years ago began to hunt animals and engage in paleo warfare with other tribes and groups. Lessons that were gained on a hunt could also be applied to the primate battlefield. We stalked, observed, and attacked using the natural surroundings, shadows, and costuming that allowed for being not being seen until it was too late for the target. Given that the dyeing of clothing easiest example is from 34,000 years ago, which was done for "fashion" purposes and not for camouflage, the natural look of the animal skins used were good enough for blending in. At times, early human hunters dressed up in furs a form of animal mimicry to close the distance between themselves and their prey.
The Different Types of Camouflage Pattern Families
Up until the research phase for this article, I did not know that all military camouflage patterns fall within families. Often, these patterns form the foundation for sub-patterns.
Year of Development: 1941
Country of Development: United Kingdom
Importance: One of the earliest military camo patterns adopted and led to the camo pattern revolution during the Cold War.
Most Famous Variant: Rhodesian Brushstroke
Still in Use? Yes, with the Zimbabwe Defense Force and irregular forces.
Year of Development: 1947
Country of Development: France
Importance: Developed from the Denison smock of the 2nd World War British Paratroopers. Used throughout the world, including Israel.
Most Famous Variant: American Vietnam Tiger Stripe
Still in Use? Yes, an variant is in service in Syria
Year of Development: 1920's and issued 1931
Country of Development: Germany
Importance: One of the earliest military camo patterns and was used by the Nazi German Wehrmacht as their camouflage. Given its connection to the evil Nazi regime, the pattern is not widely used by military forces.
Most Famous Variant: The M90 Swedish Camo pattern
Still in Use? Yes, in the form of the M90 pattern
Chocolate Chip (Six Color Desert)
Year of Development: 1971
Country of Development: United States of American
Importance: This was the first desert camo pattern developed for the US Military due to the increase in likelihood of a Middle Eastern war involving US Forces (how true that turned out to be). It gain fame during the 1st Gulf War and became a symbol of that war. It was replaced by the 3-Color Desert pattern just as the 1st Gulf War was ending.
Most Famous Variant: The original is still the most famous.
Still in Use? Yes and widely by many nations across the globe.
Year of Development: 1941 and 1960
Country of Development: The United Kingdom
Importance: Given the influence of the British military forces and the Commonwealth, when the British Armed Forces adopted the DPM pattern in 1960. other nations followed. This pattern was changed over time and a desert variant was made, but it remained in service until just recently with the UK, New Zealand, and Austrailia replacing the DPM for the newer multi-cam patterns.
Most Famous Variant:
Still in Use? Yes, dozens of nations use the pattern or a clone of it.
Year of Development: 1997
Country of Development: Canada
Importance: This will go down in the history of military camouflage patterns as one of the most game changing. Digital camo patterns have been seen as the future of passive modern military camouflage. Since the Canadian introduction of CADPAT in 1997, every major military organization has examined the adoption of digital camo.
Most Famous Variant: MARPAT
Still in Use? Oh yes...and it is just getting started.
Duck Hunter/Frog Skin
Year of Development: 1942
Country of Development: United States of America
Importance: Designed by Norvell Gillespie, who was an horticulturist and garden editor for a number of noted newspapers and publications. The pattern, known as "Duck Hunter" and "Frog Skin" was used by US Marines during the Pacific Campaign and by US and ARVN forces during the Vietnam War.
Most Famous Variant: The Original
Still in Use? No
Year of Development: 1976
Country of Development: West Germany
Importance: Developed from some of the concepts laid down by the Nazi camo patterns, the modern Flecktarn was tested in 1976 and made by Marquardt & Schulz.
Most Famous Variant:
Still in Use? Yes
Year of Development: 1948
Country of Development: United States of America
Importance: The Leaf pattern is a board term for two camo patterns that changed the world of military camo patterns: ERDL and M81 Woodland. In 1948, the US Army Engineer Research and Development Laboratory (ERDL) developed the "Leaf" pattern and was seen in specialized units during the Vietnam War. In 1981, the US Army adopted the M81 Woodland pattern and every other branch followed. This pattern became one of the most iconic and used military camo patterns for Armed Forces, MILSIM, and fashion.
Most Famous Variant: The M81 US Military Woodland pattern
Year of Development: 1958
Country of Development: Belgium
Importance: For many on the internet, the Belgium "puzzle" camo pattern takes the cake as one of the oddest and garish modern military camo patterns.
Most Famous Variant: The original
Still in Use? Yes, it was last updated in 2016 by the Belgium armed forces.
Year of Development: 1965
Country of Development: East Germany
Importance: Developed from the "Splittertarnmuster", the Rain pattern became on of the camo patterns of the Warsaw Pact.
Most Famous Variant: The Bulgarian Frog-and-Rain Pattern
Still in Use?
Year of Development: 1962?
Country of Development: South Vietnam?
Importance: This camo pattern is very famous and is iconic of the Vietnam War...however, it's origin story is unknown. It is believed to have been developed from the French Lizard pattern due to the French colonization of Vietnam and the use of the French Lizard pattern with Vietnamese forces on both side of the Indochina War. The South Vietnam military developed and used Tigerstripe camo patterned uniforms for their more elite forces. During the American Vietnam War, US specialized units, like MACVSOG, Navy SEALs, and LRRP. After the war, Tigerstripe was adopted by a number of nations and 19 different variants were made with the pattern still being tested and issued. When I was growing in the 1980s, this was the badass pattern and I still wear a tigerstripe variant to paintball in woodland colors.
Most (In)Famous Variant: The USAF Airman Battle Uniform
Still Used? Oh yeah...
Why Doesn't the IDF use Camo Patterned Uniforms?
While nearly all of the world military organizations don some sort of camo patterned field uniforms. However, one of the combat experienced armies in the entire world, the IDF, does not...so, why not? To be fair, the IDF has in the past had some units that did indeed wear camouflage uniforms that were mostly reused French "lizard" camo pattern uniforms that were given to Israel by France seen in the Six Day War. At one point during the early years of the IDF soldiers worn OD, Khaki, and French lizard camo uniforms (referred to as "tiger suit" camo by some online).
The hat—called a mitznefet in Hebrew—attaches to a regular combat helmet and obscures its rigid, round shape. As the mitznefet flops about, it takes on an irregular form that's harder to recognize in a shadow or out of the corner of your eye. The hat also protects against the sun and the moon, which might reflect off the surface of the helmet. A standard mitznefet consists of reversible mesh fabric, with a greenish woodland camouflage print on one side and a brown desert print on the other...What does the word mitznefet mean? One common translation is "clown hat," but the term has some more dignified connotations. The biblical Book of Exodus uses *mitznefet *to describe the ancient headgear of the Jewish high priests. As such, the word has been translated as "mitre" or "headdress." But some biblical scholars think *mitznefet *comes from the root "to wrap," and say that a better translation would be "turban."
The Digital Camouflage Revolution and the United States Armed Forces Growing Pains
After the Timothy O’Neil experiments with the tank “digital” camo patterns in the 1970's, there was another digital-like camouflage pattern prior to CADPAT: The US Desert Night Camo pattern. When the US began to develop a desert camouflage pattern after 1973 when it looked more likely that US Forces could be involved in a Middle Eastern conflict. The desert pattern that came out of the tests is the six-color desert camouflage or the iconic “Chocolate Chip” of the 1st Gulf War. During this, a night desert camo pattern was developed to obscure the wearer from Soviet Night Vision equipment of the 1970’s. The pattern was chosen after the evaluation period was a OD green and black grid pattern with spots and it did enter into limited service in a jacket for the cold desert nights.
With these officially issued digital patterns of military camouflage by two major military organizations, the rest of the world took notice and to this very day, military organizations, tactical gear companies, and defense contractors are making the switch to the digital camo patterns. For example, one of the most popular traditional camo pattern is the British DPM and after decades of service, the pattern was replaced with the new Multi-Terrain Pattern in 2010 (seen in photo). Another element that did change as well during the digital camo revolution was the uniform itself. Velco pockets, banded collars and pocket placed for tactical gear considerations as well were developed over the more tradition BDUs.
However, that switch has not been without its own issues and the none more acute than the rest of the US Armed Services. The US Army, the US Navy, and the US Air Force made several attempts at their own digital camo patterned uniforms that ended in failure and massive costs until most of the US armed forces adopted the OCP Pattern. With the success of the homework-copied MARPAT from CADPAT, the US Army developed their own multi-terrain digital camo pattern, the UCP. From 2003-2004, the Natick Soldier Center worked on six patterns and oddly, the one that got selected was not really evaluated or tested to the same degree as the others patterns.
Beyond the Passive Camo Patterns: Active Camouflage
The Myth of Urban Camouflage
The Myth of the Universal Camo Pattern
It seems that since the development of official camouflage uniforms in the late 19th century with the Khaki of the British Indian Army, there has been the concept that one day, science would allow for the development of a universal camouflage pattern (UCP) or all-terrain pattern (ALLTPAT). this concept of the ALLTPAT camo makes science fiction creators and logistic officers wet with the possibilities. However, it is just a myth and the prime example is the terrible US Army ACU UCP and its $5 billion failure. While the concept of a single camo pattern for military use would be wonderful for logistical considerations, it is not realistic. As we have seen with Crye Precision's Multicam pattern, there can be multi-terrain camouflage that works in woodland, jungle, and some arid conditions and even some "urban" conditions as well, it will not work in the snow or other environmental conditions. Of course, military camo patterns are not designed or even intend to transform each soldier or marine into an alien trophy hunter, but to obscure and blend. There is no current printed camo pattern that likely will ever be able to conform and obscure the wear in all environmental terrains and conditions. However, that is not to say that material science will not design a technology allowing for an active camouflage garment to allow the wearer to blend into any environmental condition as we see in the animal kingdom. It highly likely that the first users of active camo on a military application will be military vehicles as we witnessed with the Israeli Eltics and BAE Systems Adaptiv.
Outer Space Camo Pattern?
There are many jokes about the current US Space Force camo pattern duty uniforms that were culled from the US Army OCP and the possibility of space-themed camo patterns...but, that got me to thinking...could there be a space camo pattern? This is not about off-world exo-environmental camo patterns like we witnessed in AVATAR and ALIENS, but actually camo patterns designed for combat EVA mission in the near-vacuum of outer space, like we have seen in the orbital FPS Boundary or in those two missions in COD: Ghosts. Because I was stumped on if this could actually be a good idea to apply orbital camo to a combat space suit, I reached to Winchell Chung of Atomic Rockets. He said: "camo should work in space. The question is what sort of background can be expected in various space war theatres. Note, the space suit heat radiators will show up when viewed with infrared goggles." As with many things in space combat, heat is the enemy. This also goes back to a point I asked when I was a kid: "Why are space suits white?" Well, the original Mercury astronauts wore silver suits...but when the astronauts began to perform EVAs and moon walks, the color switched to white for both NASA and the Soviet space program.
The reason for the white color, even after Labor Day, is radiation and heat. White is best color to keep the astronauts safe from radiation in outer space that our own atmosphere here on Terra keeps us safe from killing us. The reflective nature of white keeps this radiation and heat from harming the astronauts. It is also easier to visually pick out the astronaut while they are working outside the space station or space vehicle from the dark background of orbital space. The space suits worn for a manned mission on Mars could be different colors due to the EVA being conducted on a planetary body with some sort of atmosphere.
night camo patterns used for special night operational fighter and/or bombers. Despite this, aircraft camo endures to this very day with digital camo patterns appearing on a Russian fighter...so, what is the reason behind that?
Will There be Exo-Environment Off-World Camouflage Patterns?
Camo Patterns on Military Vehicles
night camo patterns used for special night operational fighter and/or bombers. Despite this, aircraft camo endures to this very day with digital camo patterns appearing on a Russian fighter...so, what is the reason behind that?
Military Starship Camo?
To Camo or not to Camo...That is the Question in Sci-Fi
The relationship between fictional off-world military organizations and camouflage uniforms and painted equipment is…complicated to say the least. Much like real-world military organizations, it has taken decades for sci-fi creators to get the memo that even space marines will wear camouflage. Despite the vast acceptance of camo uniforms in real-world military, the sci-fi community has been very slow or completely resistant to camouflage. Why? Part of it is due to an image that the creators are wishing to convey, like red or black powered armoring wearing assault genetic warriors putting the fear into their enemies for the glory of the Emperor or the Blood God. This is very true in military circles as well at some points in history as seen with the Samurai, the Spartans, or even the Knights of Europe.
Military/Tactical gear can and is used to project the power of the soldier, especially combined with special colors or patterns. Some of this has been populated into sci-fi circles. This is seen in the majority of armor-wearing soldiers in military science fiction works like the Imperial Stormtroopers, the First Order Stormtroopers, all of the Adeptus Astartes, Iron Man, and some of the SPARTAN armor from HALO. After all, terrifying the enemy via psychological projection through armor is a classic military tactic that nearly as old as warfare with the Japanese Samurai armor being a prime example and the English pirate Blackbeard using smoking candles from his hair for shock-and-awe effect. Of course, there is the “military” uniforms seen in some sci-fi movies, anime, and TV shows that are completely non-camouflage and they even wear them during on-world operations. The most infamous example is the garish Starfleet uniforms seen in all time periods (and alternate realities) with bold reds and yellows. Even when Starfleet mounts intelligence/low-profile missions, their standard uniform is a all-black space ninja outfit. Another element comes from the early days of sci-fi with characters like Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon wearing bold “superhero” uniforms.
Of course, these characters were developed prior to the widespread acceptance of camouflage uniforms by military organizations. One reason for the sci-fi community embracing camouflage patterns came with the rise in military sci-fi in the 1980s, we began to see futuristic camo patterns being developed and the use of then-current military camo (the odder, the better) for future soldiers. Of course, the custom-designed Colonial Marine off-world camo pattern in 1986’s ALIENS was a watershed moment and became an inspiration for many creators. The other watershed moment came a year later with the movie Predator with the Yautja hunter’s optical camouflage. Another element of the story of military camo patterns within the world of sci-fi is the comedically use of the wrong camo pattern. This is extremely common with “urban” like camo patterns being seen in woodland conditions. While writing about your future space troopers are wearing elaborate off-world camo patterns is one thing, there is the actual physical act of designing an futuristic camo for a film, TV show, or even an anime. Added to this, is sci-fi camo patterns painted onto miniatures and models. Some of the fans of military science fiction wargames have taken to customize their own camo patterns and the results are stunning.
Science Fiction and Military Camouflage
This brings about a change as well. While military camo patterns being the standard for real-world military forces, people nearly always expect that military science fiction stories with soldiers would have soldiers donning camo uniforms. Like I said above, when future soldiers are NOT wearing camo, it seems like a choice by the production, as we saw with the Mobile Infantry in the Starship Troopers films. Another element of sci-fi and military camo is that some productions, to save money or time, they use real-world modern camouflage uniforms. At times, this is okay due to the sci-fi setting being near-future. However...it is always odd (to me) when I see four-color Woodland from the 1980's being used by military forces on off-world battlefields in the far future.
looked like Christmas".
The Best There is: The Colonial Marines Camo Pattern from ALIENS
Within the realm of sci-fi camo patterns/uniforms, the custom-created camouflage pattern is the holy grail and the best example ever of an off-world/futuristic camo pattern for a military organization. This is the one and for very good reasons. Those reason include that the prop department did not use the British DPM, West German Flecktarn, or the US 4-color Woodland, but instead developed a unique camo pattern and a unique uniform design that was not fully based on the then-current fatigue design. It just so happens that the Colonial Marine camo pattern was used in the best military science fiction film of all time , which helped. Another reason, to me, is that the pattern is not common or reused for tons of other productions, like some of the digital patterns today. The pattern used in the 1986 film was the creation of a British textile company in London called C&J Costumers. According to an article written by ALIENS collector Harry Harris who actually owns an screen-used example, the pattern was made from altering the ERDL (AKA “Frog-&-Leaf”) pattern used in Vietnam. Naturally, this was a limited run of this custom pattern and besides the actual screen-used uniforms, very little of the original material survives to this day. In 1995, some reproduction uniforms were made using the surviving roll of camo material by a company called “Fiction & Fantasy Models”.
The Worst There Is: The Blue Berets UFO Retrieval Team from The X-Files “Little Green Men”
The US SPACECOM Lunar and Martian Camo Patterns from Ad Astra
The Clone Scout Trooper Kashyyyk Pattern from SW III: ROTS
Public Security Section 6 & Section 9 Thermoptic Camouflage from Ghost in the Shell
The Camo'ed "Raven" VTOL Dual-Atmospheric Tactical Transport from Elysium
But yes, the south African pattern was a main reference. I didn't have time to fully resolve the camo, it was just quickly sketched in while I was trying out graphics, surface details and external equipment concepts. However it appears in the film would have been finalized by the art department. The USAF Vietnam era camouflage was a big influence too. Sorry I can't be more help. That stuff was all done so quickly!
The "Two Weeks" Disguise from Total Recall (1990)
The "Flying Banana" Camo Pattern from ALIENS Colonial Marine Technical Manual
The Urban Grey Fatigues of the Human Resistance from The Terminator & Terminator 2
The Rebel Alliance Forest Camo Pattern from SW VI: ROTJ
While Star Wars is not known for camouflage, we do see an example in the 3rd and final film in the original Trilogy, ROTJ. In the film, Rebel strike force under the command of General Solo land on the Forest Moon of Endor and attempt to take out the shield generator to the 2nd Death Star. This small strike force is composed of handpicked Rebel Alliance Special Forces “pathfinder” Commandos along with Jedi Knight Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia. For the strike force, they seem to all don some sort of forest camouflage in various clothing designs. For example, General Solo wears his normal space pirate clothing with a more muted brown trench “the endor duster” coat. While Luke and Leia don forest camo ponchos. For the “look” of the commandos, the costume department on the film did a great job of designing their look being somewhat uniform and somewhat a motley crew especially when compared to the Imperial Forces. When one examines the camouflage pattern up close, it is a classic “woodland” themed camo pattern, but the patterns is more muted and washed out. From the Star Wars cosplay sites have basically determined that it is highly likely that the commando uniforms were spray painted and that may account for the look of the pattern. Today, this is how the pattern is replicated. It should be noted as well, that several figures have been made of the Rebel Commando Strike Force and the Endo variants of Luke, Leia, and Han.
In the best military sci-fi technical manual of all time, the 1996 ALIENS Colonial Marines Technical Manual by lee Brimmicombe-Wood, on page 58 we see an Colonial Marines UD-4J "Cheyenne" Tactical Transport painted a the "Flying Banana" off-world exo-environmental camo pattern. In the book, it is explained that the US Colonial Marine units were conducting operations on Helene 215 in the 82 Eridan star system (20 LYs from Sol) against the Beebops. Given the local conditions on Helene 215, the 21st Marine Assault unit repainted their Cheyennes this garish yellow color to match the local jungle conditions that was very yellow. Very cool example of a exo-planetary camo pattern that looks alien to Terran eyes,
The MACO Uniform from ST:ENT
In the 3rd and 4th season of Star Trek: Enterprise, Captain Archer asks for military assets from the United Earth government during their hunt for the Xindi superweapon under development. What came was in the form of a team of Military Assault Command Operations under the command of Major Hayes. These MACO operators used specialized equipment and they also worn a military utility uniform in a custom camo pattern of gray with white, black, and brown color patterns. Some fansites have called this pattern “urban” or “starship corridor” camo or even “exo-planet multi-cam”. To me, the overall effect looks like a modern take on German Flecktarn. According to those that have seen the actual screen-used uniforms up close, the pattern appeared to be hand-painted and looks cruder up close. This hand-painting was used to diverse the pattern, like real-world military camouflage patterns. This MACO camo pattern was extended to the boots as well, which is unusual. I celebrate that the production staff on ST:ENT did design something original and more thought out than just buying some off-the-shelve digital camo pattern and pass it off as an 22nd century camo as so many productions do. However, this has created hell for the Star Trek cosplay community to replicate the look of the MACO uniforms. One interesting note: the MACO represents the only camouflage Starfleet uniform in all of Trek.
Snake’s Urban Camo Pants from Escape from New York
The Yautja Optical Camo from the Predator Universe
The Bio-Dampener Field from Star Trek: Voyager
The CryNet Nanosuit “Cloak Mode” from the Crysis Franchise
The Covenant Active-Cloak Camouflage from HALO
The Prehistoric Jungle Digital Camo Pattern from Terra Nova
In the single season of the FOX Network TV time-travel show called “Terra Nova” that aired in 2011, we were introduced to a show that attempted to combine Jurassic Park and AVATAR into a weekly show about humans settling in the distance past prior to the environmental damage. The show attempted to channel a “LOST” vibe, but given the expensive and lack of focus in the episodes, the show failed. Towards the end, one of the main characters took over the primary settlement with his own private army, called “Phoenix Group”. These soldiers donned camo painted motorcross armor and a digital camo patterned battle uniform that looks very much like an off-the-shelf urban-like camo made likely by Tru-Spec. At the time of release, digital camo was all of the rage in the civilian world and it makes sense that the production company used it, especially at the end of the show’s lifespan.
The USMC OD Uniforms of the 2060s from SAAB
In the best military science fiction television show of all time, Space: Above & Beyond we see an interesting example of camo and non-camo space marine uniforms. Throughout the single season run of the FOX tv show from 1995-1996, the main cast of US Marines of 2063-2064 wear OD flight suits that are still commercially available. The Marines of the 58th and other US Army and US Marine units seen in the show seem to all wear the OD flight suits for both atmospheric standard planetary conditions and when flying their "Hammerhead" endo-exo attack fighters. It is heavily implied that these flight suits are some sort of pressure suit that allows the wear to operate in hostile environments...to a certain limit. Traditional spacesuits are seen on the show, being used in an EVA situation.
The Warp Signature Mimicry Trick from the Star Trek Universe
The Camo Patterned Uniforms of the Stargate Teams from the Stargate Franchise
The British Army Urban Digital Camouflage from Children of Man
then reversed the (DPM) pattern, changed the color to something urban and ended by giving it a digital look". This pretty amazing effort made by the production of this film. During this battle, we see Chieftain MBT and other military vehicles are painted in the real-world "British Berlin Brigade" urban camouflage pattern.
The Mordan IV Military uniforms from Star Trek TNG “Too Short a Season”
The first season of TNG was rough and while TNG is much beloved today, it was touch-and-go if this bold experiment in brand new Star Trek on the small screen would work. One of the more interesting episodes was the 16th in the first season of The Next Generation: "Too Short a Season". Federation embassy hostages are being held by the terrorist on the world of Mordan IV. The planetary governor, Karnas and Starfleet believe that Admiral Mark Jameson is the right man to free the Federation hostages via diplomacy. 45 years ago, Mark Jameson negotiated the release of hostages on the same world with some of the same players. However, the Admiral is suffering from the crippling effects of Iverson's Disease and there is doubt on the part of the Enterprise-D crew that the Admiral should even be there. The world of Mordan IV is only five years peaceful after a global civil war between various factions that torn their world apart for over 40 years and then the tribal leader Karnas won the war of supremacy and united Mordan under his banner.
Lt. Michael "Tank" Ellis Camo'ed Power Suit from Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future
The Bell Labs Scramble Suit from A Scanner Darkly Book and Film
Now you will notice," the Lions Club host said, "that you can barely see this individual... because he is wearing what is called a scramble suit...
"Let's hear it for the vague blur!" the host said loudly...The scramble suit was an invention of the Bell laboratories, conjured up by accident by an employee named S. A. Powers... Basically, his design consisted of a multifaceted quartz lens hooked up to a million and a half physiognomic fraction-representations of various people: men and women, children, with every variant encoded and then projected outward in all directions equally onto a superthin shroudlike membrane large enough to fit around an average human. As the computer looped through its banks, it projected every conceivable eye color, hair color, shape and type of nose, formation of teeth, configuration of facial bone structure - the entire shroudlike membrane took on whatever physical characteristics were projected at any nanosecond, then switched to the next...In any case, the wearer of a scramble suit was Everyman and in every combination (up to combinations of a million and a half sub-bits) during the course of each hour. Hence, any description of him - or her - was meaningless". This is one of the more unique examples of camouflage in a sci-fi product and as a bonus, Keanu Reeves in the film.
The RDA Digital Jungle Camo "AVPAT" Pattern from AVATAR
In the 2009 mega-hit that was part of the push to get me to forge what we know today as Future War Stories, James Cameron's AVATAR would feature a PMC unit of the RDA called "Security Operations" or SecOps. the uniform that the SecOps soldiers don is some sort of digital jungle camo pattern that may have been custom designed for off-world operations on Pandora. I can only imagine the look of the night camo pattern for Pandora...I am guessing TRON-like? Anyways, there have been fan reproductions of the digital camouflage pattern, but no official source on the camo that is called "AVPAT" in the community. It is highly likely that given who James Cameron is, he based the desired look of the SecOps soldiers from the 22nd century on the most current camouflage technology of the time and the official military digital camo patterns coming out at the time greatly influenced the costume production design of the RDA SecOps camo...which is likely based on CATPAT and MARPAT. For the upcoming AVTAR 2, it seems that the RDA SecOps have gotten upgraded uniforms.
"Bravoflage" from Suicide Squad (2016)
The Urban Digital Camo Pattern from BSG
When the Galactica and the Civilian Fleet arrive at the original home of humanity, Kobol (maybe?), the military portion of the landing party dons this grey digitial camouflage uniform that makes little sense in the dense woodland environment. However, this pattern makes me think of the US Navy "Blueberry" NWU digital camo pattern. Maybe this camo pattern was used onboard the Colonial Fleet and not intended for dirtside use. According to some research, the production of Battlestar Galactica used civilian made off-the-shelf camo uniforms. The uniforms were sourced from the American uniform maker Tru-Spec and the pattern was their take on "urban digital camo". This uniform was recycled after the Kobol-centered episodes once more in the episode "Shattered". This is pretty much true for so many productions during the time when digital camo patterns hit the civilian market...but...I wished the camo pattern for Galactica was more in woodland pattern than a urban pattern.
The SDF Mars Camo Pattern from COD:IW
Unlike most of the COD community, I actually liked and still play Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, and I see as a game heavily influenced by Space: Above and Beyond. Anyways, in the game, you can customized the look of your weapon with some camo skins and one is "Mars". This deep red pattern is not a favorite of mine, but what is deeply interesting to me is the development of camo patterns based on off-world exo-environments.
The US Space Force "LUNPAT" Camo Pattern from Space Force
The Wraiths & Eska Hunters from ST:ENT Episode “Rouge Planet” (1x18)
Next Time on FWS...