The new generation of camouflage uniforms feature digitally designed patterns that, according to research, are more effective at disrupting the soldier’s outline. Although the Soviet Union created pixelated camouflage patterns during WWII and in the 1960s, these were not designed with the help of computers. The first computer-generated camouflage pattern used to clothe troops was the Canadian ‘CADPAT’ design, produced in 1995. The US Marine Corps began using a similar pattern called ‘MARPAT’ in 2002, and the following year both the Finnish and Indonesian armies also issued digital-style patterns. In the same way that numerous nations made their own versions of US ‘woodland’ camouflage in the 1980s and 1990s, many countries are likely to follow the digital trend set by Canada and the USA.

In the 1990s, printing technology enabled double-sided printing on much lighter-weight material and the Natick Soldier Center in the USA used a combination of pigment and vat dyes to produce reversible four-color ‘woodland’/’three-color desert’ camouflage patterns on a variety of fabrics.