Photo BAE Systems
BAE Systems has introduced a new "smart" camouflage system, which could eventually be adapted for use on helicopters.
Called Adaptiv and described as "a thermal TV screen", the system comprises a series of interlocking hexagonal tiles that can be programmed to mimic the heat signature of a vehicle's surroundings by heating or cooling accordingly.
Initially designed for use on land vehicles, the tiles can also project the heat signature of non-threatening vehicles, or display messages to friendly forces.
Peder Sjölund, who leads the survivability programme at BAE's Örnsköldsvik site in Sweden, said the manufacturer is looking to develop more flexible and lighter versions of the tiles, which could in future be used on rotorcraft.
"To actually be able to use Adaptiv on a helicopter - well, we have some years of development to go. It's all about weight: how much can I add before I destroy the aerodynamics? We have to meet up with customers to talk about their requirements," he said at the Defence & Security Equipment International (DSEi) exhibition in London on 13 September.
Adaptiv is about two years away from commercial launch for land vehicles, he said.
Marketing materials shown by BAE at DSEi included an image of an AgustaWestland AW109 light utility helicopter depicted with the Adaptiv technology.