Marines select "Marina Trans
(formerly known as US4CES
Transitional), after new objective testing proves
it is nearly twice as effective
over their current digital pattern and Multicam in three separate
(Vancouver, B.C. September 18, 2015) The Mexican Marines (Infanteria de Marina, Naval Infantry of Mexico) have selected the "US4CES Transitional" camouflage pattern for their uniforms and renamed the pattern "Marina Trans Jungle".
In 2010 the U.S. Army started the "Phase IV Camouflage Improvement Effort" to replace their existing camouflage pattern and in December 2011 the ADS Inc./Guy Cramer US4CES family of camouflage was selected as a finalist in the Phase IV program. US4CES is pronounced as U.S. Forces.
In 2014 the Phase IV program was cancelled and the Mexican Marines immediately selected the US4CES transitional pattern as a potential replacement for their current digital pattern if objective testing confirmed the effectiveness of the US4CES camouflage.
Objective Testing methods for camouflage have been developed over fifty years, and have been employed successfully in numerous tests for the United States Army, the United States Marine Corps, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Bureau of Land Management, and others.
Mexico Marines Objective Testing
The Mexican Marines conducted objective tests of the US4CES Transitional (Marina Trans Jungle) pattern versus their current digital woodland camouflage design in three environments selected by the Navy Secretariat: lowland forest (Michoacán), lowland scrub desert (Sinaloa) and riparian forest (Coahuila).
Twenty-three Observers were used in the first comparison experiment between their current design and Marina Trans Jungle (US4CES Transitional design), drawn from the Unidad de Operacciones Especiales plus three Observers from outside that unit. One Observer's results were rejected because he had zero target detections; reasons for this performance are not known.
Each Observer completed 38 trials: 4 in the Coahuila environment and six each in Michoacán and Sinaloa, plus six "null" trials in which the scenes did not contain a target. The null slides were inserted as a check on guessing.
The final numbers show that the new Marina Trans Jungle design was significantly more difficult to detect in the three separate environments. On average the viewer took 6.232 seconds to find the Mexican Marines Current Pattern in the Coahuila location and 9.699 seconds to find the Marina Trans Jungle pattern in the same location.
Trials resulted in large numbers of nondetects; because of this, the results in the chart below is considered a more reliable measure of effectiveness in this test. A significant majority of these events was associated with the Marina Trans Jungle pattern, reinforcing the results of the mean detection time. 8% of the viewers could not find the Mexican Marines Current Pattern in the Coahuila location within 15 seconds whereas 39% of the viewers could not find the Marina Trans Jungle pattern in the same location.
The time required to enter a left-right (recognition) decision produced a somewhat more complex result, with very short latencies overall and no significant mean difference between the current pattern design and the Marina Trans Jungle design in the Coahuila environment, some Marina Trans Jungle advantage in Sinaloa, and a wide Marina Trans Jungle advantage in Michoacán. Overall the data suggest the Marina Trans Jungle pattern makes it harder for the Observer to judge shape variables. Mean recognition time by pattern is significant (F[2,712]=138.57, p <.0001)
In the second comparison (Marina Trans Jungle and Multicam), which was conducted in the United States, there were twenty volunteer Observers; all were current or former members of the United States armed forces with visual acuity of 20/20 Snellen and normal color vision.
Similar results were obtained. On average the viewer took 4.190 seconds to find the Multicam Pattern in the Coahuila location and 10.978 seconds to find the Marina Trans Jungle pattern in the same location.
This data below indicates that to detect the Marina Trans Jungle pattern takes almost twice as long to detect over Multicam in lowland forest (Michoacán), lowland scrub desert (Sinaloa) and over twice as long in riparian forest (Coahuila).
These Trials also resulted in large numbers of nondetects as seen below. 4% of the viewers could not find the Multicam Pattern in the Coahuila location within 15 seconds whereas 27.5% of the viewers could not find the Marina Trans Jungle pattern in the same location.
The data below shows that the Marina Trans Jungle pattern was 2.6 times better at not being detected within 15 seconds over Multicam in lowland forest (Michoacán), 2.3 times better in lowland scrub desert (Sinaloa) and 6.8 times better in riparian forest (Coahuila).
There was no significant statistical difference for recognition time between Marina Trans Jungle and Multicam as there was with detection in the charts above, thus there is no chart provided for "Time to Recognize" as there was between Marina Trans Jungle and the current Mexican Marine camouflage.
Results demonstrate a superior level of performance for the Marina Trans Jungle pattern as compared to the current (Mexican Marine) pattern and the Multicam design used as a benchmark. This effect is consistent and dramatic with respect to detection time and probability of detection in all environments tested.
Looking back at previous testing
The Mexican Marines Objective tests results between Multicam and Marina Trans Jungle (US4CES Transistional) correspond with those 2011 Objective tests results conducted internally by Guy Cramer/ADS Inc. comparing the same two patterns, US4CES Transitional against OCP/Multicam for the Phase IV U.S. Army program.
Part of our submission included objective testing we conducted internally which concluded that US4CES transitional was more difficult to detect than Multicam within transitional environments. As the chart below shows, it took about 3.5 seconds longer to find the US4CES Transitional than Multicam. The differences between the Guy Cramer/ADS Inc. test and the Mexican Marine objective test is that Cramer used a 60 second timeout whereas the Mexican Marines used a 15 second timeout, Cramer also used the backgrounds provided by the U.S. Army for the 2011 test whereas the Mexican tests used backgrounds within Mexico, with Sinaloa (lowland scrub desert) best representing what the U.S. military refers to as a Transitional Environment. The longer 60 second timeout and different backgrounds translates into a longer average for detection time for the two patterns in the 2011 test. The AOR2 pattern shown below is the U.S. Navy ground forces camouflage for woodland and transitional environments.
2011 objective test results shown below
In 2014 the U.S. Army’s Phase IV Camouflage Improvement Effort was cancelled even though all their testing was completed. The results of the testing are known to only a few and the Army refuses to release those results. I have spoken to some who had access to those results and while some of those people perceive there was a clear winner, Multicam. However, according one key scientist who had to crunch those numbers, the problem was not that all the camouflage was similar and yielded similar results but the four finalists camouflage patterns were very distinct and different from one another and yet yielded similar results, this should not have occured.
So why were the Mexican Marines different from the U.S. Army? The Mexican's used Objective tests while the Army used Subjective.
Trying to find camouflage is imperitive.
There are two critical issues concerning camouflage; Detection (where is it?), Recognition (what is it?). The subjective picture in picture (PIP) testing the U.S. Army has relied upon for the past decade does not address either of these two issues. The PIP testing places a rectangle of the camouflage to be tested in the exact center of the photo and viewers then rate how well it blends in on a scale of 0-100. Where is it? It is in the exact center of the photo. What is it? It's a rectangle.
With objective testing, we simulate a target such as a soldier with the camouflage and place the simulated target in different areas of the photo causing the viewer to search for the target, once located the time it took to find the target is logged as the viewer clicks the mouse over the target, then the viewer is asked to identify what the target is. In the case of a soldier, we use different poses; standing, kneeling, sitting and flat on the ground and each target is either pointing left or right. This allows the program to determine how well the target is recognized with that particular camouflage down to the millisecond.
We also use the exact same target pose in the same location with the other camouflage we are comparing to and flip (Mirror Image) the slide as the brain has trouble identifying the mirror image of a background it has already seen. This way the two different camouflage targets have no advantage over the other one due to placement. Slides are shown randomly in each test so as to remove any advantage of one target over another.
A camouflage pattern may blend very well into a certain background but the pattern does not disrupt the target very well. Subjective testing only provides a glimpse of what we should expect in real world outcomes. Objective testing provides results that appear to be consistent with real world outcomes.
US4CES Woodland in photo below and US4CES Transitional and US4CES Arid in second photo below. The vest (heavy nylon) coloration on all three uniforms is our US4CES OCIE. These four colorations make up the US4CES Family of Camouflage which was submitted for the U.S. Army Phase IV Camouflage Improvement Program testing
Subjective Phase IV U.S. Army testing
The picture in picture (PIP)(1) subjective test technique consists of placing a photo at a particular pattern representing the height and width of a soldier at a particular distance (the pattern is scaled and blurred to provide a similar look that the human eye perceives at that simulated distance (in this case 46 yards), the pattern rectangle is then placed directly in the middle of the photo, meaning you do not have to search for it and the viewer is only asked to compare how well it blends with the background in the environment.
So PIP has will provide a general idea of how a pattern will work compared to many other patterns at 46 yards. Subjective PIP testing has allot to do with the colors and contrast differences between the colors within the pattern as they compare to the immediate colors and contrast surrounding the rectangle.
This PIP method fails to provide any indication on how the pattern disruption and geometry effect the length of time to find it in the first place or determine what the target is as it is already in the middle (where is it?) and the shape is a rectangle (what is it?).
The goal of the Mexican Marines was not about finding the most fashionable pattern, it was all about finding the most effective camouflage pattern in the world to provide the highest level of survivability the camouflage is able to offer the soldier. That pattern turned out to be US4CES Transitional, renamed Marina Trans Jungle, it is now the official pattern of the Mexican Marines.
The new uniforms were officially shown at the Mexican Independence Day parade on September 16, 2015 and the Marines will fully transition from their current pattern to the new pattern by November 2015. The Mexican Navy is also considered the same branch as the Mexican Marines.
This camouflage pattern is highly restricted to only be used by the Mexican Government. It is not available for commercial purchase in or outside of Mexico.
For more information on the Phase IV program and US4CES pattern see the following:
Part 2: U.S. Army Scorpion Camouflage
Part 3: Why Not Just Use MARPAT?
Part 4: Why US4CES?
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