"ADAPTIV" is apaprently the newest gadget of BAe Systems; hexagonal tiles that control the infrared emission of an outer surface (=tiles become warmer or cooler, as far as I understand these physics).

There's so much media echo to it that I've seen it even in a national German newspaper (German newspaper authors are usually no miltech fanbois).

What strikes me is - except the practicability (dirt, reliability, perspective, temperature management, thickness, robustness, compatibility with daylight camo paints, saltwater resistance for naval applications) and cost questions (likely restricting this to recce and point vehicles) - that so far I didn't see one implication in any comment on it:

A system that changes the infrared signature of a (almost) whole vehicle that fast (assuming the video is not accelerated) would break the lock-on of infrared-guided fire and forget missiles such as the still relatively new and modern Javelin and (Euro)Spike.
Even the fibre-optic command control mode of (Euro)Spike would largely be countered.
In other words; you wouldn't need to deploy a multispectral smoke screen between yourself and the approaching missile to break its lock-on anymore.

What's more: Infrared guidance lock-ons could be prevented by near-continuous changing of the surface's signature like Rorschach's balaklava. This might affect even automatic tracking systems such as in (IIRC) the MBT Leclerq's gunner sight.

S. Ortmann

P.S.: "adaptiv" without the -e" happens to be the German translation of "adaptive"...I guess the Brits at BAe didn't consider this in time.


  1. Two comments:

    1. Spike MR is a pure fire & forget system. Spike ER (e.g. chosen for the Spanish TIGER helicopters) has a so-called fire & steer mode in which the operator can launch the missile
    without pre-locking onto the target and steer it manually towards the target (lock-on after launch). In contrast to that the TRIGAT/PARS 3 LR for the German Tiger helicopter is a pure fire & forget weapon.

    2. Please find new information about the "performance" of ADAPTIV at http://www.spiegel.de/wissenschaft/technik/0,1518,784670,00.html. Looks like it's not as sophisticated as touted.

  2. And the best is, itn´t even British. It´s from Sweden!

    Cloaking device from IKEA

  3. That article only states the obvious weaknesses. There are many more - but that wasn't the topic.

  4. This looks to be a real simple system of Peltier effect coolers in a grid, I could make this at home with parts surplussed from Amazon.com I wonder if there is a backplane heat exchanger or if this just proof of concept and endurance is not a factor.

  5. And, as always, the West is the eternal bridesmaid!


  6. It seems strange to put this on a tank due to the limitations it has concerning relative motion and orientation between the cloaking unit and the hostiles.

    Doesn't it make more sense to keep systems of this sort at more fixed installations that can erect good optical cammo and that primarily try to avoid (long range) aerial detection?

    I imagine it would be best used for hiding things in fields or other places that people are accustomed to assuming nothing very much can hide in.

    Another use is to provide false targets, maybe it is cost effective to use the system to simulate a poorly concealed repair depot or an infantry force crossing a field at night (by having some properly concealed mechnized units dragging a coat of simulated units after it, hoping the opposition spots it)