Goodness me what goes around comes around!
The above is from a 1971 test of digital camouflage...1971.. thats a lot of years back, and yet its presented as the 'new' in thing...rofl.
And (as intended) it looks like it would 'work really well', if it were about 100ft closer to those trees. Except then it would need to be painted
zinc chromate yellow to match the grass. So maybe it should be about 50ft higher. Except that then, any grunt (which is the only threat ever likely
to see this aircraft that close) would be viewing the Kiowa backlit against a deep-azure sky or a bright-white horizon.
Now heres some really sweet photoshop jobs of digital camouflage...I love the F-35 one!!
Not representative because there is no equivalent light sourcing or specular reflectance variables between the original photos and those which show
the supposedly 'enhanced' camouflage. ALL of the schemes shown in fact being _dead flat_ (2 dimensional) which means that not only are you playing
the 'any background color you choose to match too' game. But also the 'zero glint here' real space consequence of light reflecting off complex
Blather. The only shot on the entire page which comes close to giving a true indication of the problems involved in optical camouflage for aircraft
is ironically another helicopter. Shot against a brilliant blue and stark white cloudy sky backdrop, the whole 'thunder and lightning' nonsense
comes off as being a black airframe shaped hole-
Compared to the original monotone grey baseline-
Which is obviously too uniformly reflectant for the up-close perspective but which, a mile or two distant, would fade into the averaged brightness of
the total sky (air 'glows' with saturated refractance index, masking direct return by mixing it into the overall spectra and temperature of the
background. Past a certain intensity level and distance, you can successfully hide an elephant behind a teacup).
That said, camouflage has two principle uses:
1. To delay initial acquisition.
2. To disrupt outlines and intratarget features leading to false presumptions of ID, motion and angle after acquisition.
BOTH the (USMC F-18 and Hyperstealth) digital patterns are questionably effective at either mode because they show the viewer a perspective and
viewing distance he can relate to as a civillian on the premise of 'look how clever we are' in proving a fixed environmental casepoint.
Rather than adopting a tactically appropriate condition wherein the target is a dot on the horizon such that individual 'pixelations' are almost
certainly merged-invisible anyway and the commonest optical tracking mode is zoom-TV or IR for which every intra-target change in total isoluminency
in fact averages darker in increasing the overall symmetrical contrasts of the airplane-shaped-hole-in-sky effect instead of 'breaking up the
If we could envision air to air combat from the same detached viewpoint of say targeting pod imagery during a standoff munition attack against an
_airfield_ we could barely see out the canopy; we might be able to understand the distances and silouhette sizes involved.
Thus rejecting this kind of 'cleverness' for the fashion statement it is.
Digital camouflage might have worked in the days of the 250ft turning circle of biplanes. They might have worked in the 1,000ft turning circle of
WWII. Against a jet whose turn circle is measured in MILES covered at _hundreds of feet per second_, there is nothing that a human can do to maintain
sight on a target that doesn't want to be seen. And nothing an (airplane sized) target can do to avoid being tracked by electro optical gear that is
determined to track him during WVR combat.
The only thing you can do is keep yourself at long range and match the general intensity of the background (radiometric MMW can do this as a function
of 'temperature' in real time) so as to provide minimum signature variance with the given isoluminent colors.
Anyone who says otherwise is throwing away a 35-80 million dollar airframe and should have his keys if not his budget taken away from him.