This is the holy grail of camouflage for the fighting folk.  Despite all of our technology, we are still playing catch-up to nature but we are learning and strides are being made.  Nature has had a lot more time to tweak and test it’s creations, and the price to pay for failing was literally life.  Someday, we might be able to leverage our technology to achieve a useful result and active camouflage may become normal.

The full presentation of David Gallo’s TED talk is available here for those interested.

I strive to remember, getting a weapon up and on target means a lot of other things have had to work.  To pull that trigger in faroffistan a whole lot of gears got cranked, whether it’s transport, logistics, targeting or any other thing in a long list it takes to come to that point in time.  For me, anything that can give us more of an edge in the actual fighting portion is something to be excited about.  Camouflage seems so insignificant and easy to overlook despite the fact that it really can make a difference between life or death.  Nature knows it better than anyone in the predator/prey game.  I want us to keep being the predator and letting the other guy slip and get ate up by incoming fires.

So that octopus was really cool and all but where are we in a usable form?  Enter BAE Systems with their work on the ADAPTIV system.  It may not be small enough for the common man, but it is a step in that direction.  The system renders the host platform nearly invisible to IR/Thermal sensors, or can mimic another object.  A much more expensive version of ships using the practice of deceptive lighting to appear to be something it’s not.  While only being fielded as a technology demonstrator at present, time has told us that as technology matures it tends to scale in size. It works by heating or cooling plates installed around the platform, and can use sensors to match the local environment to ‘disappear’ into the background when viewed with IR sensors.  Of course, the Mk1 Eyeball can still defeat it during daylight or low-light.

Cost aside, someday a system just might become robust and small enough to be embedded into uniforms.  Until that day, we should look to use to right uniform camo in the right environment.  Army UCP?  What the hell were they thinking?  For more talk on BAE’s ADAPTIV look here, and BAE Systems page here.


Bravo One, Out.