US Army is developing 'invisibility suit' for soldiers to make them DISAPPEAR on the battlefield - and says it will begin trials in just 18 months
- Hoped suit will work in every terrain, and in every temperature
- chameleon-like system would continuously update the colour and pattern
The US Army is developing an invisibility suits for its soldiers.
It has requested firms developing 'stealth fabrics' to get in touch - and is hoping to test the first prototypes within 18 months.
It is hoped the suit will work in every terrain, from deserts to jungles - and in every temperature.
Can you see me? The US Army has called for firms developing stealth technology to work on an 'invisibility suit' for soldiers that can be used anywhere in the world.
The US army's call for proposals from companies calls for wearable camouflage with a chameleon-like ability to change according to the background.
'A chameleon-like or adaptive camouflage system would continuously update the colour and pattern, concealing the Soldier in the current environment.'
It calls for firms to 'Develop an innovative adaptive camouflage technology that can be used by individual soldiers in various land environments. A non-powered solution is preferred.'
Contractors will demonstrate the feasibility of their approach in the first six months of the programme.
Those selected for the following one-year phase will submit 10 prototype uniforms for testing.
These need to work in all terrain from all angles.
They also need to function across a wide range of temperatures, in rain and snow, and without hampering a soldier's normal duties.
If the adaptive camouflage requires a power source, this must weigh no more than 0.45 kilograms and provide at least 8 hours of operation.
WHAT THE ARMY WANTS
Has 360-degree coverage and 'can actively respond to various land environments under changing light conditions.'
Can be integrated with soldier's equipment.
Ideally, will not require a power supply. If it does require a power supply, it 'should last a minimum of four hours and weigh no more than two pounds' including batteries and connections.
Reflects infrared light the same way as other army uniforms
Works in a range of terrain, including desert, forest, urban areas, jungle, and mountains.
Works below freezing and at temperatures above 95 degrees Fahrenheit, in high wind, in stormy weather, and in smoke, dust, or fog
It is believed two options are under consideration.
In 2006, John Pendry, a theoretical physicist at Imperial College London, showed that it should be possible to bend light around an object and hide it using metamaterials – which channel electromagnetic waves.
However, many only work in the lab with specific wavelengths or from certain angles.
Work with TV-like LEDs were hampered by power and computing requirements.
But although they can bend light, metamaterials cannot make things disappear completely.
Guy Cramer, CEO of Canadian camouflage makers Hyperstealth Biotechnology, says he demonstrated metamaterial camouflage to US military scientists last year,
Hyperstealth Biotechnology won't yet reveal
details or release photographs of the material.
Despite this, some firms claim they already have working products.
Guy Cramer, CEO of Canadian camouflage makers Hyperstealth Biotechnology, says he demonstrated metamaterial camouflage to US military scientists last year, and that the new project will allow him to move forward with it.
But Cramer won't yet reveal details or release photographs of the material.
'What's the holdup on our Quantum Stealth (Light Bending material)?' the firm wrote.
'The U.S. military needed to put in place the requirement, without that requirement we were not allowed to work with them.
The wearer would be effectively transparent at some wavelengths but not all, rendering them as a coloured shadow or ghost image
'Key people in the U.S. Military had assumed bending light across the Ultraviolet, Visible and Infrared spectrum was impossible until Hyperstealth recently demonstrated that and more to those people.
'This requirement for light weight, passive (non-powered) adaptive camouflage has now been issued.'