A recent trial has shown that a new multi-colored, pixelated coating on British tanks has reduced their detection rate by 80 percent, according to The Telegraph.
The new “Multi-Coloured Digital Camouflage Five” design was 20 percent harder to detect by trained soldiers in comparison with the traditional color, the outlet added.
The design consists of a mix of pixelated blocks of five colors, with different thermal and infra-red properties that work in both rural and urban settings.
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The army, the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory, the Tank Museum, industry, and veterans worked together on the design, which is a part of the Hide, Deceive, Survive Project.
The designers also received input through social media.
“Young soldiers with fresh ideas, combined with experienced instructors and professionals have attacked it in a different way,” stated Lieutenant Colonel Rob Page, Commanding Officer of the Armoured Trials and Development Unit.
Optimum Distance Between 300 and 1,000 Meters
The design works best between 300 meters and 1,000 meters, the outlet reported, citing military officials, adding that this is the range at which most tank battles take place.
The aim of the design is to provide tank operators with a few extra seconds to act first by keeping the machine visually hidden from the enemy within the aforementioned range.
Major Charlie Brunskill stated, “If I can delay that targeting cycle, that’s a win because this thing doesn’t operate on its own.”
“Once an anti-tank team shows itself and goes through that cycle, if I can add three more seconds to that I can perhaps get a shot off first.”
Works Against AI As Well
The design also works well against combat drones by deceiving the artificial intelligence (AI) operating the aircraft which relies on a vehicle’s visual, thermal, or electronic signature for detection.
The AI can confuse a tank with some other vehicle because of the camouflage design, resulting in the aircraft not wanting to waste its munitions on a lesser value target.
The new design also has a positive psychological impact on soldiers, according to one of the project members.
“It’s just like putting stripes on your car as a kid; it goes 10 percent faster,” Major Brunskill said. “That has an effect on the enemy as well.”