Friday, 30 September 2011

New Technology Makes Tank Disappear Right Before Your (Infrared) Eyes

The company, Sweden-based BAE Systems, unveiled their ADAPTIV camouflage system earlier this month at the Defense and Security Equipment International exhibition in London. The ADAPTIV technology uses a sheet of hexagonal “pixels” that covers the side of tanks. The cover blocks the heat given off by the tanks that normally allow them to be pinpointed by infrared sighting such as those found on night vision goggles, anti-tank missile launchers or strike planes. But because a peculiar black, heatless spot would still draw attention to an observant enemy eye, ADAPTIV goes a step further and generates its own camouflaging heat pattern.

The pixels are 5.5 inches wide thermoelectrically-conducting material. BAE hasn’t revealed the technology, but the pixels, which number over a thousand for a typical tank, can be individually and rapidly heated to create the pattern of a car, a cow, a trashcan, a crowd of people, or a blinking VEGAS sign if you like. Appropriate shapes are selected from ADAPTIV’s library of terrain objects to fit the situation. If a tank is ploughing across the Arctic, for instance, the pixels will use their Wonder Twin powers to activate and take the form of a polar bear. And they get seriously SciFi with the infrared cameras on the opposite side of the tank. The cameras take a snapshot of the backdrop and then project that heat image across the ADAPTIV pixels on the other side. The ability to blend is dependent on distance, and BAE has found that 300 to 400 meters is the ideal distance. The end result is a disappearing tank. It’s pretty awesome to watch, and you can see it in the following company video.

[Posted at the SpookyWeather blog, September 30th, 2011.]

1 comment:

SpookyPunkos said...

Mike Rivero of made the following observation:

"This gizmo is only useful in conditions where the Mark-1 eyeball is unavailable, such as heavy smoke (you know you are under attack) or nighttime and your lowest-bidder supplied visible spectrum night vision scope has quit working.

Just off of the top of my head, I have a possible (and cheap) way to defeat this thing. Put a few IR filters that pass different parts of the IR spectrum into a wheel in front of your IR imaging device and give it a spin. The IR LEDs, having a narrow band of emission, will flicker, identifying a target for immediate destruction"

This reminds me of the scenario about spending lots of money to make tougher armour only to have a new munition defeat it in very short order.

Spook !