The story behind China’s ‘Minecraft’ military camo

22 08 2016

Invented by a US Army officer in the 1970s, ‘digital camouflage’ is pixelating the modern war machine.

By Jack Stewart

24 March 2016

On 3 September 2015, China celebrated the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II with a fairly stunning display of its military might, parading hundreds armoured fighting vehicles and some 12,000 troops from the normally secretive People’s Liberation Army through Tiananmen Square in Beijing. Many of these vehicles had never appeared in public and a notable theme — one that to many eyes came as a big surprise — was the Army’s use of dramatic ‘digital’ camouflage patterns. The Chinese pageant featured columns of military vehicles covered in pixelated squares, some in shades of green and khaki, others in outlandish schemes of blue, white and black.

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Image credits: Kevin Frayer / Getty Images; Xinhua / Alamy Stock Photo

Get the full story here.

para comparison

11 10 2011

An exercise in the Ukraine this summer (Rapid Trident) saw paratroops from several nations practise together – a great opportunity to compare skills and procedures, as well as offering a chance for comradely photo sessions.

Below are members of six of the participating nations, showing the range of camo solutions designed for woodland and universal applications. Identities given below the fold, for those who like to guess.


Multinational paratroopers line up


The nations represented are (L to R):


USA, Canada, Britain, Belarus, Poland, Ukraine.


Other nations participating included: Latvia, Moldova, Slovenia, Serbia, Lithuania and Estonia.

new pattern for the netherlands?

12 07 2011

Floating around the wobbly web for some time now has been a digital pattern (see below) rumoured to be under development for the Dutch armed forces.

"dutch experimental camo"

"experimental dutch patterns"

"more experimental dutch patterns"

Well it seems rumour has become fact with this picture (below) coming to light. It shows members of a Dutch army NCO training school wearing the new pattern, and a new uniform design too. A desert pattern is also to be fielded, but no word on whether it is the same as the arid design shown above.

Thanks to Alex of ICUS for the background information.

"dutch army digital"

More about this over at Soldier Systems

a dazzling comeback?

7 06 2011

Battlefield Dazzle Camouflage Disrupts Enemy’s Perception

Posted by Armed Forces International’s Defence Correspondent on 07/06/2011 – 11:20:00
 Dazzle Camouflage

Historic military camouflage designs could return to the 21st century battlefield after the release of a new study that describes their value to modern warfighters.

Produced by a research team based at the UK’s University of Bristol, the study describes how-so called ‘dazzle camouflage’ could be a valuable tool on the frontline and how, ultimately, it could prove to be a lifesaver.

Dazzle camouflage consists of a series of patterns, with the emphasis on sharp, irregular angles, high contrast and other disruptive features.

According to the Bristol camouflage researchers, if applied to armoured vehicles and other military technologies used on the battlefield, dazzle schemes could effectively confuse enemy forces. That’s especially true if viewed on moving vehicles, with their markings basically becoming a series of blurred patterns that would be hard to track and, thus, better protected against enemy-launched weapons.

Dazzle Camouflage

Dazzle camouflage was a feature of both WW1 and WW2. Applied to battleships at sea, it was conceived as a way of giving the enemy a false impression of what they were actually looking at. When faced with a non-standard camouflage design, seen from a distance, how could they really be sure of the warship’s range, speed, shape or compass heading?

No previous research has ever been carried out into the scientific effect of dazzle camouflage on the brain but that’s now been addressed by a team led by Doctor Nick Scott-Samuel, of Bristol University. He and his colleagues have now shown that a high-speed object, painted in dazzle camouflage, can disrupt ideas of just how fast it’s moving.

On that basis, there’s strong evidence to suggest that dazzle camouflage, painted on relatively slow-moving ships at sea, probably wouldn’t have been that effective, but the same technique applied to relatively fast-moving battlefield vehicles would likely have much more of an impact.

Disruptive Battlefield Camouflage

Therefore, disruptive battlefield camouflage, said Doctor Scott-Samuel, could literally prove to be a lifesaver.

“The effect should obtain in predators launching ballistic attacks against rapidly moving prey, or on modern, low-tech battlefields where handheld weapons are fired from short ranges against moving vehicles”, he explained, in a press release published by Bristol University at the start of June, 2011.

“In the latter case, we show that in a typical situation involving an RPG7 attack on a Land Rover the reduction in perceived speed would be sufficient to make the grenade miss where it was aimed by about a metre, which could be the difference between survival or otherwise for the occupants of the vehicle.”

View original article at Armed Forces International News

a-tacs for airsofters

20 05 2011

Can’t get decent quality A-TACS gear for love or money? Well, I can’t help you there, but you might like to know that Ebairsoft have a look-alike pattern in an ACU cut, due soon.

No prices have been posted, but it is sure to be cheaper than Propper, and being as how Propper use  similar (if not the same) polyester-cotton ripstop and off-shore sewing firms, the quality might not be far below theirs, either.

If you really can’t be bothered to wait, or don’t want to risk your money on an unquantified product, you can try the tip posted by Jose Palleres on Ebairsoft’s comments page for the product:

“i have A-tac already. rolled my tan jumpsuit around in mud dirt sand and dust.”

Oh Jose, you card!!

image of the day

17 03 2011

Interesting collection of uniforms worn here by Japan Ground Self Defence Force (JGSDF) personnel (browner patterned jackets are lined winter field coats), a US Navy officer, and a member of the US Army Special Forces in a L4 wind jacket from the Army’s new ECWCS (Extended Cold Weather Clothing System). Taken on the helicopter deck of  the dock landing ship USS Tortuga (US 7th Fleet) during humanitarian relief operations following the Japan quake and tsunami in March 2011.


U. S. Navy Photo by Lt. K. Madison Carter

metamaterial masking moves toward practical application

24 02 2011

Via Rachel Courtland, New Scientist. Issue 2800

NOW you see it, now it looks like something else. Radar images might never be the same again, thanks to an illusion device that can change an object’s appearance. The technology could ultimately be used to hide military aircraft.

The device is part of a growing family of metamaterials – structures designed to steer light along curved paths. They have already been used to make objects appear invisible and to disguise a gap between two objects.

Wei Xiang Jiang and Tie Jun Cui’s team at Southeast University in Nanjing, China, have created a structure that changes the way radio waves interact with a copper cylinder so that it appears to be composed of another material altogether.

Copper conducts electricity well and reflects incoming radio waves, giving it a bright radar signature. To alter this behaviour, the team built a device made of 11 concentric rings of circuit boards etched with small metal-lined channels that prevent electromagnetic waves reflecting away. Instead, they guide the waves in a direction that the researchers choose specifically to make the hidden object appear to have different electrical properties.

Placed around a copper cylinder, the arrangement created the illusion that the cylinder was made of a dielectric, a class of materials including porcelain and glass that do not conduct electricity and are more transparent to radio waves.

"Electromagnetic cloak"

A similar waveguide that rendered small objects invisible was tested in 2009.

The illusion only worked when the cylinder was viewed from the side; what’s more, the imaginary object it generated was the same size as the original. Future designs would have to account for all three dimensions, and might produce an illusion quite different from the object they disguise.

“In principle, this technology could be used to make an illusion of an arbitrary shape and size,” says Cui, whose team created an electromagnetic “black hole” for light in 2009. Similar illusion devices could eventually be used for stealth technology: for example, to “convert the radar image of an aircraft into a flying bird”, Cui says.

The work, which will be published in Physical Review E, is still at an early stage, however. At 45 millimetres, the team’s illusion device is three times as wide as the cylinder it disguised. “Their device is still fairly bulky relative to the original object, so further work needs to be done before a real device can be deployed,” says John Pendry of Imperial College London.

Although invisibility devices were invented first, the illusion technology might win the race to be put to practical use. “It is easier to falsify something than to hide it,” Pendry says.

The team next plans to explore ways to design devices with more complex shapes.