MARPAT (abbreviation for MAR ine PAT tern), or Marpat , was the world's second computer-aided digital camouflage pattern after the Canadian CADPAT , which has been used by the United States Marine Corps since 2004 .
The pattern contains many colored pixels . In theory, it is a far more effective camouflage pattern than standard camouflage patterns because it mixes the colors. MARPAT is a registered trademark of the US Marine Corps. The MARPAT is also known as the “digital pattern” because of its pattern, because instead of the older blob design, it consists of many small blocks.
Since 1981 the US armed forces have been using a further development of the “Lime ERDL Pattern” printed in colored colors, which was presented by the US Army Engineer Research and Development Laboratory (ERDL) in 1948 . This pattern was called "M81 Woodland".
Under the leadership of the US Marines, the development of a new camouflage pattern began, which should have a smaller area distribution. The German Federal Armed Forces had already introduced such a smaller-scale " Flecktarn " pattern in 1990 . From a first selection round of the US Marines with 150 samples, three were shortlisted. Two of these were further developments of the so-called "tiger stripes" that the USA and South Vietnam had developed for use in the Vietnam War. The third camouflage pattern emerged from a British camouflage that had been developed for the colonial war theater of Rhodesia . These patterns and the colors used have been further modified with the aim of being able to use them effectively in as diverse environments as possible. According to the patent, research into fractal graphics was used to develop the pattern that was ultimately adopted .
In the following tests, the Marpat pattern proved itself in particular because the wet uniform retained its camouflage properties when used at night and when viewed through night vision devices. Other designs lost their camouflage ability under these conditions.
The first Marpat-printed equipment was issued to the U.S. Marines in early 2003. At the beginning of the Iraq war in late March 2003, however, the new camouflage was hardly widespread.
There are now three MARPAT patterns: Woodland (forest landscape), Desert (desert) and Urban (urban). The Woodland and Desert patterns have been used on a larger scale since 2004; the Urban pattern is currently still in the development phase. When MARPAT was introduced, there was some resistance in the USMC. The US Army ( Army Combat Uniform ) as well as the US Air Force and the United States Navy are currently developing their own digital camouflage uniforms.
There is currently an ongoing debate in the US and Canada as to whether the American MARPAT pattern was at least partially inspired by the Canadian CADPAT camouflage pattern . Canadian industry and government employees accuse the US of illegally copying CADPAT , but Americans claim to have invented their pattern independently of the Canadian one.