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A heat scope detects a car, even though it's actually a tank using the heat masking technology  (Source:
BAE Systems hopes to eventually make this technology work with other wavelengths to achieve true invisibility

Militaries from around the world are constantly looking to adopt new technologies that can aid in the protection of soldiers while still carrying out specific duties. For instance, the U.S. military mentioned earlier this year that it wants to test new gadgets every six months in order to put new "capabilities" into the hands of soldiers. Now, there's a new defense technology that could give tanks nighttime invisibility.

The new creation, known as Adaptiv technology, is a camouflage cloak that masks the vehicle's infrared signature by imitating the temperature of its surroundings. 

BAE Systems, a British multinational defense, security and aerospace company in London, United Kingdom, is the creator of the camouflage cloak
. Using hexagonal panels, or pixels, which are made of a material that can change temperature rapidly, BAE Systems was able to make a cloak that not only allows tanks to mimic its surrounding temperatures, but also makes the tanks look like other objects.

The hexagonal panels are operated by onboard thermal cameras which repeatedly image the surrounding ambient temperature of the tank. The panels then project these temperatures whether the tank is moving or sitting still. In field tests, this cloaking system made a tank look like its surroundings from a distance of 300-400m.

To make the tank look like other objects such as cars, large rocks, trucks, etc., BAE Systems refer to a library of the heat images of these objects, and projects them onto the panels. 

According to Pader Sjolund, Adaptiv project manager at BAE Systems, these panels add to the exterior of a defense vehicle and consumes "relatively little power."

"Earlier attempts at similar cloaking devices have hit problems because of cost, 
excessive power requirements or because they were insufficiently robust," said Sjolund. "We can resize the pixels to achieve stealth for different ranges. A warship or building, for instance, might not need close-up stealth, so could be fitted with larger panels."

BAE Systems would not discuss how the panels are heated and cooled exactly, but said the technology could be available in as little as two years. Also, the company is looking to make this technology work with other wavelengths to achieve true invisibility.

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By JonB on 9/6/2011 12:03:12 PM , Rating: 2
Seems to push the rule or guideline that you don't put a Red Cross on something to keep it from being attacked.

"Is that a car or a tank?"
"Is that a herd of cows or a tank?"

If it could just make it "disappear," it would be great. But disguising it as something civilian is going to be bad.

By DougF on 9/6/2011 2:20:54 PM , Rating: 2
Camouflage has a long and distinguished history in warfare, helping achieve surprise or to hide assets. Disguising a tank as a car is perfectly acceptable. And blowing up cars on suspicion of it being a tank is also perfectly acceptable, if wasteful of ammunition and serving to tell the enemy exactly where you are. Personally, I'd send an infantry screen out to check on such items and scout the enemy, but that's just me.
Now, just laying waste to a car dealership, while it might be fun, would be a violation. Also, using the Red Cross/Crescent to say this was a medical asset would be a violation of the laws of war.

By Captain Orgazmo on 9/6/2011 2:30:41 PM , Rating: 5
All's fair in love and war...

In Vietnam, Charlie found the bright red crosses on the sides of medevac choppers to be perfect aiming points, and our current enemies consider schoolchildren to be legitimate targets (not that they'd have much access to thermal scopes, however).

Ironically, considering this is being designed for the rapidly disappearing British Army, they're more likely to use it to disguise a car as a tank rather than the other way around :P

By Smartless on 9/6/2011 4:03:25 PM , Rating: 2
Lol I tend to agree. The way the world is going, the United Nations may never fight a war against a country at the same technological level. The closest would be either China or North Korea in which case, will stealth still be in issue? Wasn't there a report that the F-22 was considered to be overkill in Libya?

In any case, I love all these advancements though, keeps my nerdy sci-fi movie loving mind going.

By mrkun on 9/6/2011 10:22:08 PM , Rating: 2
I thought the F-22 wasn't used in Libya because its communications were "too advanced" to be compatible with NATO systems or something to that effect?

By cruisin3style on 9/7/2011 3:26:25 PM , Rating: 2
i think it was that the communications were too limited in the F-22, something about the way it was designed to keep it stealthy iirc

By Manch on 9/7/2011 4:21:10 PM , Rating: 2
Comm in a F-22 isn't the problem. A lot of the NATO platforms are incapable of talking to the F-22 without an intermediary as a go between. That would only add to the C2 issues when dealing with other countries.

Plus what would we have used the F-22 for? There was no resistance as far as airspace so it would have been pointless to deploy them. The F-15's/16's we already had in the theater were more than capable of getting things done.

By Moishe on 9/8/2011 11:06:14 AM , Rating: 2
I thought the overlords at the UN were all about "peacekeeping?"

I think the tech is cool, but it will have a limited effect in a real war where cameras or eyes see the target for what it is.

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