Weapons maker BAE has recently completed a test of its new Adaptiv infrared cloaking technology in Sweden, and hopes to show it off at the upcoming DSEI conference in the UK. With Adaptiv, vehicles and military installations can mimic the infrared signature of their environment, making them all but invisible when viewed through night vision systems.
At the core of Adaptiv are hexagonal plates that can quickly change their temperature. These are connected to a control system and cameras which observe the surrounding view in infrared. Once activated, the hexagons quickly match the background. The system has a few more tricks up its sleeve as well: It can mimic the infrared profile of other vehicles, making a fully loaded troop carrier at the vanguard of an invasion look like a lone Jeep. The system can also be used to identify friendly vehicles, displaying a special insignia which can be seen through night vision. BAE says that the system is scalable, and could camouflage air, land, and sea vehicles as well.
Some skepticism is, of course, called for. Coupled with multiple means of detection — low light enhancement, audio, etc. — the cloaking powers of Adaptiv would almost certainly be reduced. However, BAE says that this is a planned first step toward all-around stealth. What’s more, seeing it in action is startling. Read on after the break and watch a tank disappear.