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A heat scope detects a car, even though it's actually a tank using the heat masking technology  (Source: bbc.co.uk)
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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