An invisibility cloak has been tested by British troops, just like the one the fictitious child wizard Harry Potter has, which helps them hide completely from the enemy. The main difference between the two is that one relies on magic to hide people while the others uses science to make the user blend into his or her surroundings.
The US field trials included UK soldiers from the 3rd Battalion The Rifles (3 Rifles). The high-tech camouflage material, called Vatec, makes the user disappear completely from view, including heat-seeking and infra-red sensitive devices.
In a mock battlefield, British snipers used the sheeting to completely conceal themselves. US researchers say the material is now ready for use in military operations.
The battlefield camouflage material was developed by Polaris Solutions in Israel. (Image: israeldefense.co.il)
Shaped to blend in with surroundings
Vatec can be moulded into shapes to match your environment, which might be mountainous, rocky or sandy terrain.
British military leaders are urging the Government to invest in this latest high-tech camouflage.
Researchers say camouflage research gets much of its inspiration from cephalopods, such as octopus or squid, plus chameleons and other creatures that are able to blend in with their surroundings and avoid predators.
Cephalopod skin contains chromatophores – pigment-rich cells – that react to external factors, such as an imminent predator attack, and change colour.
The VATEC camouflage material blends in with the environment. As you can see in the picture above, it can mimic rocky terrain. (Image: defensereview.com)
In an interview with the Mail Online Xuanhe Zhao, Associate Professor at the Department of Mechanical Engineering at MIT, said:
“I have high hopes for its use in military camouflage. At the moment the military spends millions of dollars developing new camouflage patterns but they’re all static right now, they don’t change. If you put a pattern designed for the forest into the desert, it is not going to function.”
“Dynamic camouflage would allow soldiers and their vehicles to adapt to their surroundings instantly.
Soldiers loved the invisibility cloak
The trials by the American troops and 3 Rifles took place at Fort Benning in Georgia.
Sharpshooter from 3 Rifles, Corporal Tyrone Hoole, told the Mail of Sunday:
“This is an absolutely brilliant piece of kit. The lads are desperate for the Army to buy it. Instead of carrying chicken wire, spray paint and thermal sheets we can use this one item, which is really light.”
VATEC created in Israel
The VATEC material was initially developed by Polaris Solutions in Israel and is today manufactured and marketed by ReadyOne Industries under the VATEC Concealment Solutions (VCS) brand.
The difference between Harry Potter’s invisibility cloak and the VATECH camouflage material is that one was created by Wizards using magic and the other by engineers using science.
The new 3-dimensional texturized flexible multi-spectral combat camouflage fabric material is three-dimensional in two aspects.
– 1. The flexible fabric has a crinkly texture so that even when it is laid out flat it has some depth, i.e. a multi-level aspect.
– 2. The material can be formed into many different complex shapes, and keep those shapes – mimicking all types of man-made or natural terrains.
In an article in Defense Review, David Crane wrote:
“Any current combat camouflage pattern or natural environment pattern taken from photographs can be applied to the core 3D-textured material, which, to DR’s understanding, is manufactured in sheets that can form just about any shape.”
“The VCS 3D camouflage can virtually perfectly match/mimic the natural or urban combat environment, whether it be foliage, rocks/boulders, a brick wall, etc. The company refers to the technology’s purpose as “multi-spectral concealment” and “portable battlefield cryptic signature and concealment”…and it’s wonderfully devious.”
Video – Combat camouflage by VATEC Concealment Systems