Wednesday, September 28, 2022

British tanks to receive next-generation camouflage

The UK’s ground forces have announced that is weighing different camouflage patterns as it moves to select a new set of uniforms.

According to a press release issued last month by British Army, the British Armed Forces launched the Multi-Coloured Camouflage Scheme (MCDCS) program to develop next-generation camouflage to hid big combat vehicles such as the main battle tank from the sophisticated sensors.

The MCDCS was launched as a result of our troops’ experience in Estonia, lessons gleaned from the Royal Tank Regiment’s ‘Streetfighter’ experiment, and a long-recognized need to hide, deceive, and survive on the modern battlefield, according to a recent service news release.


The British Army has revealed that in combat, tanks are destroyed from surprisingly short range and that the preservation of battle-winning capabilities is vital to success.

MCDCS is the product of a joint project involving the Dorset-based ATDU, the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL), and the Tank Museum. The project was devised to create a camouflage scheme that would decrease detection, both by the human eye and artificial intelligence-enabled targeting tools, with a goal of tricking the enemy and creating an advantage for the camouflaged vehicle.

Challenger-2 tank. Photo courtesy of British Army.

Using archival information from the Tank Museum, including the camouflage schemes of the ‘dazzle’ ships of the First World War, the paint and deception projects practiced in the Western Desert in the Second World War, and more recent paint experiments in the 1960s and 70s, the main elements were established. DSTL were then able to provide state-of-the-art paint materials promoting low levels of radar detection and high heat dissipation to create the complete MCDCS.

Finally, the experiment was tested practically by soldiers based at the Army’s Armour Centre equipped with various types of sensing equipment as well as the naked eye and binoculars. In tests, MCDCS drastically reduced both detection and recognition in critical short-range (400-1500 meters). An example of the Army listening to its soldiers, partnering with industry and academia, and producing a battle-winning solution.

Challenger-2 tank. Photo courtesy of British Army.

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About this Author

Dylan Malyasov
Defense journalist and commentator. Aviation photographer. Dylan leads Defence Blog's coverage of global military news, focusing on engineering and technology across the U.S. defense industry.