Invisibility cloaking has been around for decades, since the Klingons used it to catch James T. Kirk with his pants down (as usual). Of course that was on TV, and the concept of making solid objects invisible has been the stuff of science fiction until recent developments from BAE. The defense supplier has created a way to capture and project real-time images onto the side of armored vehicles, effectively creating a “rolling movie screen”. This allows a tank, scout vehicle or armored personnel carrier to blend into the surrounding scenery , so long as the image projection is maintained.
More “smart camouflage” than true invisibility, the projection works best on vertical surfaces and can’t be carried over to things like wheels or tracks. Theoretically, four cameras and four projection systems would be needed to ensure reduced visibility from all sides, but the cloaking would do nothing to block a vehicle’s heat signature. In other words, a cloaked tank would be nearly invisible to the naked eye, but it would still be clearly visible to modern weapons systems. Changes in armor design would be necessary to make vehicles less visible to infrared detection.
Prototypes using this adaptive camouflage could be ready in as little as four years, and BAE is currently developing seven vehicles (both manned and unmanned) as part of their Future Protected Vehicle program for the British Army. Expect to see similar technology employed on U.S. military vehicles in the same time frame.
Source: The Telegraph