In English, a term is often used to designate new generation camouflage technologies: Cloaking, literally "the use of a cloak". The reference to the elven cloaks of Frodo Saquet and the invisibility cloak of the most famous of the young British wizards is obvious, while maintaining a dreamlike dimension. However, this term is today used most seriously by many research laboratories working for the defense industry around the world. Thanks to new meta-materials, it is in fact now possible to completely or partially erase the presence of an object, a vehicle or a soldier, in view of the opposing forces. What are these next-generation camouflage technologies, and will they soon enter service in the armed forces?
There is actually not one, but several technologies that seek to erase the presence of a soldier or vehicle in the light spectrum. The oldest, and most widely used, is none other than classic camouflage, seeking to reproduce the chromatic and physical characteristics of the environment in which the combatants find themselves. The most successful example of this type of camouflage is the Ghillie suit, invented in Scotland by gamekeepers at the beginning of the XNUMXth century, and which was used for the first time in combat during the First World War. But this technology, if it is simple and economical, is not free from flaws.
First of all, the outfit must be adapted and modified to each environment, so as to blend into it. Secondly, if it adapts well to infantry soldiers, it is much more difficult to implement on vehicles. Finally, it does not mask the infrared signature of soldiers, while IR detectors have become widely used in recent years in the armed forces. The new camouflage technologies are focused on resolving these 3 precise points. They must, in fact, be adaptive with respect to their environment, be portable so that they can be applied to both personnel and vehicles, and finally, be multispectral, especially in the infrared spectrum, to counter electro-optical detection systems. There are currently three main categories of technologies applicable to this field.
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