BAE Systems has carried out tests involving heat-based technology that allows armoured vehicles to blend into backgrounds to become undetectable.
The invisible tank technology is set to make its public debut at the Defence and Security Equipment International Event, which takes place in London between the 13th and 16th September 2011.
Called ‘Adaptiv', BAE Systems' technology involves layers of highly temperature-sensitive hexagon-shaped pixels. Each of these measures 14 centimetres in width, meaning approximately 1,000 are needed to cover all the surfaces of an average-sized tank.
Adaptiv Invisible Tank System
Trials of the Adaptiv invisible tank system, involving a CV90 infantry fighting vehicle, have been carried out and these established an optimum invisibility level was produced at about a 300 to 400 metre range. Following the DSEI exhibition, BAE Systems believes that the Adaptiv invisible tank technology may be being manufactured from 2013 onwards.
"Earlier attempts at similar cloaking devices have hit problems because of cost, excessive power requirements or because they were insufficiently robust", head researcher Peder Sjölund explained in a BAE Systems press release issued in September 2011.
"Our panels can be made so strong that they provide useful armour protection and consume relatively low levels of electricity, especially when the vehicle is at rest in 'stealth recce' mode and generator output is low."
"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", he added.
Invisible Tank Technology
The invisible tank technology involves imaging systems that capture the temperature of the surrounding terrain and then beam this data onto the tank. This process allows not only static objects to be obscured, but also moving ones and, equally, the technique can allow one specific vehicle to take on the appearance of another.
In particular, this lowers levels of so-called friendly fire incidents, according to BAE Systems, although no specific information has yet been released regarding exactly how the pixelated panels are heated.
At the start of 2011, Armed Forces International reported on how so-called E-Camouflage could create invisible Army tanks.