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Start / News and media / News Archive / Nyheter 2012 / The worlds heaviest chameleon

The worlds heaviest chameleon

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Ola Dickman, FMV to the right, and Peder Sjölund, BAE Systems, in front of the demo version of CV90 covered with thermal tiles. By being able to quickly change the temperature of the tiles, the vehicle may look like just about anything in an IR-camera.

Ola Dickman leads FMV's development project for low signature attributes to increase the Swedish military's ability to conceal themselves from future threats of detection.

"By avoiding detection valuable time is gained during an operation. It is a relatively inexpensive method of protection. In case of discovery one must have other protective capabilities, such as warning and countermeasure systems, ballistic protection, or the possibility to move away very fast", said Ola Dickman.

One of the development projects is about tricking the enemy into thinking that a combat vehicle that weights 35 tons is something completely different, or to get it to blend into the surroundings to avoid detection from thermal sensors.

It sounds like Harry Potter's invisibility cloak and is based on the widespread military use of thermal imagers. By outfitting the vehicle with cd -sized thermal plates, the vehicle operator can choose to project any pattern seemingly in any temperature. The vehicle simply acts like a huge heat-TV, where each tile is a pixel.

Blending in with the surroundings

With the help of the plates, the vehicle can either mimic its surroundings or take the form of a harmless object, like a passenger car, if you are, for example, in an urban environment. The technology of the thermal plates transforms the combat vehicle into the world's heaviest thermal chameleon. With a special camera the vehicle operator can take pictures of another vehicle or background pattern and then direct the system to create a disguising thermal pattern image. In less than a minute the vehicle will appear just like the camouflage-generated model when viewed by an infrared camera.

"My focus is technology development. We are always one step ahead of the acquisition. By working with development, we have good control of future sensors and the technology solutions that will be needed to conceal people, vehicles and equipment from future threats of detection."

Brilliant solutions are not always best

Rapid developments in the sensor area put new demands on those who want to operate without being detected. There are many technical possibilities, but FMV's task is to see if the technology fits with the Armed Forces' capabilities.

"We must constantly ask ourselves which solution is the best. Is it a question of being able to move quickly, or having good ballistic protection? Or not being seen? In the end, reality can cause an ingenious technical solution to be unworkable. But investments in research and development are never wasted - they always leads to new ideas. Our investment in technology development is also about building skills among suppliers, because knowledgeable vendors always benefit us in the end", says Ola Dickman.

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Published: 2012-11-14 14:38. Changed: 2013-07-09 14:41. Responsible: Show e-mail address.