DSEi 2011: submarine periscopes and invisible tanks

By Paul Parkinson

Paul ParkinsonLast week, I attended the DSEi defence & security exhibition in London. As usual, it was an enormous event with a huge number of exhibitors, and it seemed to be even better attended than the 2009 event.

I visited some of Wind River's customers and partners, and I was really pleased to see a demo of the VxWorks-powered Astute submarine optronic mast on Thales' stand, which showed the huge difference that the 3-axis image stabilisation makes when using the periscope in rough seas.

While I was at the event, I also took the opportunity to look around at some of the state-of-the-art technologies on display. There were lots of new systems which were focused on 'cyber security', and 'cyber defence', and the application of military-grade cyber security for protecting critical national infrastructure.

However, the system which seemed the most revolutionary to me, was BAE SYSTEMS' ADAPTIV camouflage. There is a long-established problem of military vehicles being vulnerable to detection, and whilst covering tanks with traditional camouflage material can help disguise them in the visible spectrum, this doesn't prevent their detection from infrared (IR) sensors.

BAE SYSTEMS has developed an innovative solution to this problem using state-of-the-art technologies, which is being reported in the media as an 'infrared invisibility cloak'. ADAPTIV provides the ability to hide, blend, disrupt, and disguise the appearance of military targets, and also provides Identification Friend-or-Foe (IFF) for coalition operations to prevent friendly fire.

Unfortunately, the CV90 tank on display at DSEi didn't perform a live demo of ADAPTIV, but the official video teaser on YouTube is so impressive, that I decided to embed it below: