Alpha M-1 Jacket in urban camo pattern. Source:

Back in the 90s, the only urban camo pattern I knew was the urban ERDL pattern, quite popular among far-right extremists in Spain. The question is how somebody came with this black & white with two shades of gray colour palette to represent an urban landscape.

U.S.M.C. experimental urban camo pattern used in URBAN WARRIOR 99 excercise.

In the late 90s, the U.S.M.C. made trials with an urban camo pattern during the OP URBAN WARRIOR 99 exercise. Just a few years the pixelated MARPAT camo pattern was developed and introduced between 2002 and 2004. A urban variant was considered.

Experimental urban MARPAT sample.

Hypersteatlh from Canada pionnered the development of pixelated camo patterns, with the adoption of six different patterns by the Kingdom of Jordan in 2005. One of those patterns was a urban digital variant for the Public Security Directorate.

Hyperstealth KA2 Urban Digital variant. Photo: Hyperstealth.

Hyperstealth developed several camouflage pattern families between 2005 and 2010 that included an urban variant. The SpecAm series, introduced in 2005, offered two urban variants.

SpecAm Urbanized Terrain. Photo: Hyperstealth.
SpecAm Urban Dark. Photo: Hyperstealth.

The Spec4ce series introduced two urban variants.

Spec4ce Urban. Photo: Hyperstealth.
Spec4ce Metro. Photo: Hyperstealth.

According to Hyperstealth:

[The company] was awarded the solicitation to develop three versions of Urban Patterns for consideration by the Canadian Department of National Defence (DND) for CUEPAT (Canadian Urban Environment Pattern), these patterns were completed in early 2010 and formally presented in Ottawa in June 2010.

CUEPAT Type III variant as shown by Hyperstealth’s CEO, Guy Cramer, in the International Warrior Expo in 2016. Photo: Soldier Systems.

The launch in 2010 of the A-TACS pattern, later renamed A-TACS AU (Arid/Urban), became a novelty after digital or pixelated camo patterns were in vogue for so many years.

The chinese All Terrain commercial camo pattern tried to emulate A-TACS double role effectiveness.

Hyde Definition, well known for its GreenZone and BadLands patterns, introduced in March 2017 the urban MetroPolis pattern:

PenCott MetroPolis. Photo: Hyde Definition.

According to Hyde Definition:

MetroPolis is optimized for industrial / built-up environments, and low-light / night operations. The overall tone of MetroPolis® lighter than many other ‘urban’ patterns because lighter colors darken in low light levels, but still maintain disruption and blending performance. Patterns which use predominantly dark colors tend to ‘blob out’ under low light conditions, which lessens their performance.

Months later, A-TACS introduced a new urban pattern: A-TACS Ghost.

A-TACS Ghost pattern. Photo: A-TACS.

As gray has become a popular color among police forces, A-TACS points it can be used along gray gear.

A-TACS Ghost is designed using variable shades and tones of grey and is based on our “X” platform. It is intended for urban operations and designed to work when paired with black or grey gear.

As we have seen before, there are my urban patterns out there: Metro, COMB Urban, the Brazilian pixelated urban pattern… And there are many more I’ll try to show here. My goal here was to show the evolution of the concept along the years before discussing a key question: Does the concept of urban camouflage make sense?