“Effectiveness of helicopter visual motion cue suppression via camouflage patterning”, F.W. Bacon, F.J. Iannarilli, and J. A. Conant, Proc. MSS Symp. on Camouflage, Concealment, and Deception (2003).

We undertook a definitive computational simulation to ascertain whether a static visible-band camouflage scheme, composed from practical paints, could yield worthwhile motion cue suppression for helicopters viewed against terrain. Our conclusion quantitatively supports the common-sense notion that no such scheme exists.

To reach this finding, we employed physics-based signature prediction codes to model an Apache AH-64 helicopter, as treated with realistic paints whose scattering properties are rigorously modeled as BRDFs. Such predictions, comprising temporal sequences of moving target across a range of scenarios (to wit background imagery, viewing aspect, range, relative sun location), were fed to the Paint Mapping Optimizer (PMO) design code. PMO employs a representation of the human retinal spatiotemporal detection response, which is employed as the optimization criterion in generating optimal camouflage schemes. The reduction in motion cue detection response was generally equivalent to what obtains from a 25-35% decrease in range-to-target, an operationally negligible payoff.