Kit Up! recently exchanged emails with the makers of A-TACS camouflage to get an idea of what they were planning for their Army camo program submission and to get some more info on their latest development of the A-TACS FG pattern.
First on the FG pattern. Digital Concealment Systems' Phil Duke tells us the standard A-TACS pattern and the new A-TACS FG are designed with special operations clients in mind. The Army submission is separate from the FG pattern because "we didn't want to muddy the water by submitting either of them to the Army" with the need for special ops units to sometimes wear patterns that better suit their missions and environment.
The FG pattern:
...is built on the A-TACS platform using organic pixels and patterns within patterns, but will be characteristically different and uniquely suited to the distinctive elements and shapes found in more temperate environments. The color palette is a mix of both open terrain and forest green tones combined with tans and browns. It will also be the first pattern of its kind to feature simulated depth and multi-layering (emphasis added) - further increasing the functional aspects of the design.Digital Concealment Systems will be debuting the A-TACS FG pattern at 2012 SHOT Show.
Now for the Army camo submission. Duke said his company has developed three patterns per the Army's requirement.
Since it is the intent of the ARMY to have nylon and other gear produced only in the Intermediate pattern, then it is that pattern–and how it works when paired up ACUs in either the Temperate or Arid patterns, that becomes a critical to how the patterns work as a cohesive system. Developing the patterns becomes a game of ratios and color-balance with the goal being not only to develop the best pattern for each operational environment but also a pattern that will blend easily when paired with the Intermediate pattern. That was our goal. Using that as our foundation, we developed a shared organic color palette for the system that distributed the sampled natural colors into all three patterns in variable and controllable ratios. It became less of a science from that point and more of an instinct to find the perfect balance.This last statement is interesting. After spending some time with the folks from Gore and learning about their Optifade pattern, it occurred to me that the Army camo contest could pit those with "gut" feelings about how patterns work and those that use science as a template -- Guy Cramer comes immediately to mind in the latter camp. It seems a bit of a risk to inject "instinct" into the final go-no-go on what to submit -- especially since the Army claims they won't do that again when they pick a winner.
Look, A-TACS is clearly popular with some units in certain environments (as the picture above proves). And though going with their gut on this is risky, it just might work. We'll be following Digital Concealment Systems' efforts, and those of other camo makers, with great interest as the Army prepares to down select (we're hearing from a reliable source that it will occur in September).