Anti-Drone Camouflage: What to Wear in Total Surveillance
2 Thermal Camouflage systems being developed:
Black Fox by Eltics
Adaptiv by BAE Systems
we are working on:
Thermal Dazzle (disrupting the heat signature of the wearer)
The U.S. military has tried, and continues to try, special dyes and materials in uniforms to shield a soldier’s IR signature from these imagers. “But you are running up against the laws of physics,” camouflage expert retired Lt. Col. Tim O’Neill says. “The heat must escape somehow, or you will reduce the soldier to a hot, stinky puddle.”
Designed to blend in with the temperature of its surroundings or mimic the IR signature of something else (for instance, a low-priority Humvee or an enemy tank), ADAPTIV is often shown in the form of 5.5-inch hexagonal tiles. (That’s only the land vehicle version of the system. The actual size of the tile depends on the host platform and its normal distance of engagement). Think of the tiles as hot and cold pixels comprising a large thermal picture.
“When the enemy is closer,” Sjölund says, “you need higher ‘resolution,’ so the ‘pixels’ have to be smaller. You don’t want a thermal pattern that doesn’t look natural.” For example, a vehicle engaged in urban warfare would need hand-size tiles to fool IR imagers at a distance of 200 to 300 meters. But a naval ship, used to combat ranges in the nautical miles, could have a larger tile. Either way, perfection isn’t necessary. Even when ADAPTIV cannot fool the human eye, it can frustrate a targeting algorithm.
“Thermal imagers don’t tell you if something is actually hot or cold,” Fred Colbert, president of Colbert Infrared Services, Inc. “They measure radiance.” And radiance can be disguised.