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New Challenger 2 experimental camouflage


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Yes, the Army is looking again at AFV camo schemes. I believe they're hoping or trying to find the vehicle equivalent of the MTP uniform.  Something multi-terrain, multi-climate that doesn't need repainting for different deployments.  Notwithstanding the Berlin-type scheme on a couple of RTR tanks right now and the greyshade hex scheme on Rheimetall's 130mm CR2 demonstrator.  ATDU, Dstl and others were at Bovington museum a while back researching historic camo schemes.  This actually looks quite like the MTP uniform from a distance.

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Very appealing colours, but what is this obsession with pixellated camouflage?  At any distance you can't see that it's made of rectangles.  They're handy for fabrics, as they make it much easier to weave in the pattern - but is anyone going to be knitting tank cosies?

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The tank is a vanilla Challenger 2.  It will now be used for various trials.  Not sure about the dark wheels.  Can't tell if they're black or dark green.  Creates a large artificial shadow.

 

Nor sure that I understand the pixelated idea either, but everyone seems to be doing it on AFV and uniforms.  Not easy to paint: lots of masking and stencils.  Put it under a layer of Barracuda and it won't be seen anyway.  In many ways, visual camo has become less important with the commonplace use of thermal imaging, millimetre-wave radar, portable drones and high magnification high-definition electro-optic sensors.  It's much harder to hide a static vehicle and a moving one will always give itself away merely by moving.  But then not every potential enemy, or every force element of one, has these modern toys.

 

The general idea of disruptive pattern painting on vehicles has always been primarily to disguise rather than to hide.  To do that effectively has most successfully used large areas of high-contrast colours.  More subtle lower-contrast colours and finer patterns have tended to blend into one at any distance.  And then there is a layer of dust......

 

I guess we will see what transpires.

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9 hours ago, Das Abteilung said:

Not sure about the dark wheels.  Can't tell if they're black or dark green.  Creates a large artificial shadow.

 

...most successfully used large areas of high-contrast colours.  More subtle lower-contrast colours and finer patterns have tended to blend into one at any distance. 

 

As someone who regualrly goes out deer stalking, camo is a subject of great interest to me. People will spend a fortune on the latest scheme for their kit - Realtree, Mossy Oak, etc. - yet as you rightly say, most complicated schemes "blob out" beyond a few yards.

 

The best I've seen advertised (I've never found it in the UK) is ASAT:

 

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Large, simple shapes in bold, contrasting colours; and colours which "pick up" whatever environment they're in, from woodland to grassland to even snow.

 

I'd like to see a Chally in ASAT, with the wheels painted a solid light tan colour to combat the natural shadows. I reckon that'd be an extremely effective pattern.

 

Panda commander

 

 

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12 minutes ago, Panda Commander said:

 

I'd like to see a Chally in ASAT, with the wheels painted a solid light tan colour to combat the natural shadows. I reckon that'd be an extremely effective pattern.

Your mission, should you decide to accept it........ :D

Steve.

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2 hours out in the field and it will look brown... A hell of a lot of hassle to paint up just for the parade ground :hmmm:

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1 hour ago, Dads203 said:

2 hours out in the field and it will look brown.

Or white on Salisbury Plain.................  This was of course the epiphany with the Solomon schemes on Mk1 tanks in 1916.  They just turned brown in no time, and the colours were useless once moving.  Hence the visits to the museum to look at camo ideas through time.

 

Printed fabric screens on the bar armour like this is something else they've been playing with.  On the face of it, a simple cheap and readily changeable concept.  But doesn't suit vehicles without extensive bar armour, notably CR2.  That pattern works well on this Spartan.  An interesting evolution of the Berlin scheme.  Would be well hidden against the stone wall but stands out against the brickwork.  Dark wheels again.  But it does break up the outline.  A lot of similarities with various naval colour schemes of WW2.  You can't hide a ship but you can make it hard to identify, hopefully until the enemy is within your engagement envelope.

 

Are we back to trying to disguise AFV as softskins as per Western Desert WW2?  Paint some wheels to look like truck wheels, leave the rest dark to look like the under-shadow.  A Spartan could pass as a light truck.  Its replacement Aries is the size of a removal van..........  With so much contractorised logistic delivery make it look like a Kuhne & Nagel truck..........😁

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Good to see that the British army is finally jumping on the digital camo band-wagon.

 

I have to say, I wouldn't have thought this would be a very effective camo scheme. Surely camo schemes are designed to break up the outline of a vehicle and make it much more difficult to identify at a distance? These small, digital shapes would look like a uniform colour at more than a 1,000 feet, I would have thought. 

 

Having said all that, in the age in which a tank can be given away by its thermal signature and the fact that it is moving in a static environment (and probably a number of other factors we've not been told about yet), I would have thought that the camo scheme would be very much a secondary consideration. 

 

Still, it's a very cool scheme. 

 

Chris.   

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I think those dark wheels on the tank all one very dark colour are a deal-breaker. They will really just emphasise the shadow so much that - unless ‘hull down’ - this will nullify any advantage that the fussy pattern yields.


The urban cam on the Spartan looks  more promising to me. But again - wheels all one shade?

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On 14/11/2020 at 11:14, Dads203 said:

2 hours out in the field and it will look brown... A hell of a lot of hassle to paint up just for the parade ground :hmmm:

You've been there, done that and probably don't fit in the tshirt anymore :owww: I believe you :yes:

 

I think it might be some PR element to it, but if it's clean and dry, it'll probably help a bit.

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On 11/14/2020 at 10:09 AM, Yorkshire man said:

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Try this one for size (ok apart from wheels).

Reminds me a bit of a TV test card. All they need is the girl, the doll and some nougts and crosses. 

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6 hours ago, Mike said:

I think it might be some PR element to it

Interestingly I overheard a conversation along the lines that selling the very expensive CR2 upgrade proposal to Those In Authority might go better if it had a sexy new colour scheme to go with the sexy new gizmos instead of being boring old green...........

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I've always been a little puzzled with the military obsession with green?

 

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Prey animals have developed camouflage techniques driven by the most simple of driving factors, evolution. There are no green antelopes. You get green snakes and insects, animals that will be in green environments, so green birds flit around trees. The antelope that is easy to see is the one the lion will try to kill. You will notice the light coloured lower flank, this is specifically to make the animal harder to see at a distance. Which does make you wonder about painting the wheels dark shades if nothing else.

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Looks like MOD has enough money now for snazzy cam schemes.  And further denials of parking up our heavier armour.

 

But if I had a few quid for every time in my 30-odd years in MOD I heard that the budget had been re-set and the Black Hole filled again I'd be rich.

 

The principles of camouflage and concealment and the work of the likes Solomon and Maskeleyne are forgotten at our peril, even in the days of multi-spectral sensors.  We forgot it between the world wars with plain satin green, we forgot it again after Korea with plain gloss green and we have been forgetting it again since the first Gulf War with plain matt green.  Germany largely forgot in WW2 what it learned in from the WW1 Buntfarbenanstrich despite trying it again in the late 30s.  No plain colour will provide adequate concealment and nor will fiddly pretty low contrast patterns.

 

But the penny does seem to have dropped in the UK hence the ongoing work to find a fairly universal scheme that avoids constant deployment repainting.  There was scepticism that it could be achieved with uniforms but the Multi Terrain Pattern proved that it could.  The same has largely been achieved with the 2-tone grey scheme on Army Wildcat helos, despite it looking more maritime than temperate.  Maybe it can be achieved with AFV too.

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On 16/11/2020 at 14:15, Nocoolname said:

Reminds me a bit of a TV test card. All they need is the girl, the doll and some nougts and crosses. 

Good grief, you are old! Next you'll be saying that you remember when TV used to shut down after children's hour, and not open up again until 7pm.:D

 

John.

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On 19/11/2020 at 21:16, Rumblestripe said:

I've always been a little puzzled with the military obsession with green?

 

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Prey animals have developed camouflage techniques driven by the most simple of driving factors, evolution. There are no green antelopes. You get green snakes and insects, animals that will be in green environments, so green birds flit around trees. The antelope that is easy to see is the one the lion will try to kill. You will notice the light coloured lower flank, this is specifically to make the animal harder to see at a distance. Which does make you wonder about painting the wheels dark shades if nothing else.


Hi - I might be able to offer a little bit of insight to this. I have had a long-standing interest in zoological camouflage and fully agree with your comments on counter shading.

 

For a long time however I wondered why there were no green mammals. How can it be - I wondered - that at least some fish, reptiles, amphibians, birds and insects have evolved green camouflage but absolutely no mammals. Surely some mammal somewhere would benefit from green camouflage. 
 

In fact there is one example that proves that green is under some circumstances a useful camouflage to mammals. The three toed sloth has fur follicles specifically evolved in cross-sectional shape to help the growth of green algae - presumably to help the animal go unnoticed. 
 

But why no other mammals?

 

The answer is actually pretty surprising. The only common genuinely green pigment in nature is chlorophyll and it does not survive in any animal. So none of the ‘green’ that we see on insects and reptiles etc is actually created by a green pigment. Instead it’s due (generally speaking) to a yellow pigment with a thin transparent blue iridescent covering. This iridescence is a characteristic of scaley structures- scales feathers or shiny wet skin (like a frogs for example) but it does not occur in fur because of fur’s more complex fibrous structure. Hence mammals are generally either black, white, grey (non-colours) or some variety of brown or tan - colours for which there are an abundance of natural pigments.

 

So, our friends in the army are perhaps better justified in using green than observation of the mammalian kingdom might at first suggest. 

 

 


 

 

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Out in the field:

 

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As camouflage is a thing at the moment, apparently Jackal is up for a new look. 
 

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And together:

 

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Animal camouflage is also meant to work against other animals and the vision of many animals is quite different from ours in terms of sensitivity to the various wavelengths. 

 

Have to say that while I fully understand and appreciate the usefulness of "digital" patterns on uniforms I've always had doubt on their use on large objects like tanks. It will be interesting to see the result of tests on this pattern, to the best of my knowledge only China seem to have used this kind of pattern on vehicles, at least among the major armies.

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On 11/19/2020 at 1:16 PM, Rumblestripe said:

Which does make you wonder about painting the wheels dark shades if nothing else.

If tanks had long legs like gazelles, this principle might work.  But you have to remember what happens to their wheels the second they start rolling.  You get basically two options: something the colour of milky coffee, and sticky black filth.  Countershading the nether regions with anything else would be a waste of paint.

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