BAE Systems has come up with a new technology that enables large objects to vanish from sight. The Adaptiv technology can make an object as big as a tank disappear at night from infrared sensors. While it may work only on gadgets and just at night it could still offer a major advantage behind enemy lines.
The tank which has the Adaptiv technology fitted in can change its thermal signature to look like a big rock or a truck or just fade into the background and become invisible to infrared sensors. The technology uses a system of hexagonal panels which are a few inches in diameter to change temperature very quickly.
It would take a few thousands of such panel to cover an entire tank, but once it has been done the tank will be able to change the thermal signature it generates at will. As most militaries in the world use infrared sensor based devices to see in the dark without being seen themselves the Adaptiv technology would ensure that the tanks were never seen by the enemy.
The system allows mimicking of the heat signature of its surrounding areas as it maps them and thus efficiently makes the device invisible. As per BAE Systems the panels also add armor to the tank. They should be ready to install and available for production in two years time. The technology also has the added benefit of being comparatively inexpensive for an invisibility cloak.
Peder Sjölund, the stealth tank's project leader, said that earlier attempts at similar cloaking technologies encountered problems because of cost and extensive power requirements. Their 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, he said.