Well, this is a horse of a different color.

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Chameleon tanks blend into background
* 19 January 2011 by Duncan Graham-Rowe
*
Magazine issue 2795. Subscribe and save
New cloaking technologies could make a tank "disappear", "sweat" or even
look like a cow
EVEN at a distance, a tank is hard to miss. Yet if it is a tank with
adaptive camouflage you might barely realise you are looking straight at
it. At least that's the aim of the "chameleon" system being developed by
BAE Systems in Sweden.
The system, which will be tested later this month, is part of a broad push
to find ways of making tanks less conspicuous in the battlefield, says
Hisham Awad at BAE Systems in Bristol, UK.
Given their large size and relatively slow speed, tanks are often sitting
ducks for enemy fire. BAE Systems believes its system can not only make
tanks harder to see, but also disguise them thermally, by making the
vehicles "sweat", or even look like cows.
At the moment, the visual camouflage system is the technology that is at
the most advanced stage and is being developed to conceal the tank's sides,
Awad says. A pair of "bug-eyed" compound video cameras on each side capture
the tank's surroundings. Each one contains nine small cameras, giving a
wide field of vision. The images from these cameras are then fed to
displays built into the outer surface of the armour on the tank's opposite
side. The displays use arrays of organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs) to
project the image onto a screen contained within the armour, much like a
rear-projection TV, says Awad. The screen will be built in to a layer of a
transparent composite armour on the tank's side. How to hide the tank's
tracks and roof are challenges that the researchers have yet to overcome.
"There may be discontinuities at the edges," says Alan Johnston, head of
the vision lab at University College London. But even so, provided the
display refreshes fast enough it should work, he says, adding that just
matching the colours to the background could be enough.
BAE Systems would not reveal many of the details but claims that a working
version of the system could be available within five years.
While this should make a tank more difficult to see, hiding its thermal
appearance is much more challenging. "A lot of heat comes out of the
vehicle at any one time," says Awad. This produces a characteristic thermal
signature, making tanks easy targets for heat-seeking missiles.
BAE researchers are modelling ways to capture the water component of the
engine exhaust and channel it to composite armoured tiles along the tank's
sides. The water could then evaporate off, cooling the tank's surface just
like sweating.
Rather than just hiding the vehicle's heat signature, though, the
researchers want to be able to move water over the tank's body very quickly
and create specific shapes. Individual composite tiles could be switched on
and off and used like pixels to depict simple shapes, the company claims.
"You can make it look like a Ford Focus, or you can have the shape of a
cow," says Awad.
Reply to
Gray Ghost
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So are the cameras and screens on the opposite side, bulletproof?
Reply to
eyeball
Not to be negative - but over the years I've seen many examples of complicated high technology solutions that bumped into the Devil in the Details and were eventually abandoned. Usually the first sign of death is a cover story in Popular Science - it's amazing the percentage of these technological wonders never made it. My bet is cost/time of maintenance to keep this working in the field, while the tank is identified using other means will make this useless in a real battlefield unless you're up against mounted cavalry without night vision goggles. At some future hobby show I expect to see the cameras hanging out all alone on a diorama with a title like adaptive camoflage.
Val Kraut
Reply to
Val Kraut
Check out some of the Chinese weapons that were photographed on some of their parades. Interesting camo on them, some have areas that are just squares, looks like digital photography where its got lots of pixels. Don't know how good it will be.
Reply to
frank
Reminds me of a novel I read some years ago, involving A-10s and T-80s. The tank had some sort of projection camo system.
Rob (the Aussie one)
Reply to
RobG
the ghost in the shell operatives used "thermoptic" camoflage. the operative had to be nude, which in the case of motoko was good. that's an anime/manga seies with some great kits also. gernot who posts here is a great guy who got me a tachikoma kit and sent it to me from japan. check the stuff out....
Reply to
someone
One day several years ago, I came across the following website ...
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which included an Jigabachi AV
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When this showed up on HLJ a year or so later
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I decided I'd likely come across the master builder for the jigabachi kit and likely others such as the Tachikoma kits.
Impressive scratch building even if he isn't the master builder.
Reply to
John McGrail
thank you so much for that. maybr he's not a master, but he sure is good. he captures the humanity and essence that the little guys have. i choke up at the episode where they sacrifice themselves to try and stop aku and die singing about seeing their essence.
Reply to
someone

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