Army researchers eye IR-reflective textiles to make soldiers invisible to electro-optic sensors

NATICK, Mass., 23 Oct. 2012. Military camouflage experts at Rothtec Engraving Corp. in New Bedford, Mass., are developing new technology for the quick design and printing of new and existing camouflage patterns to help warfighters avoid detection by enemy infrared sensors.

Officials of the U.S. Army Natick Soldier Systems Center in Natick, Mass., awarded a $1.3 million research contract to Rothtec as part of the Soldier and Small Unit Digital Ink Jet Printed Camouflage program.

Rothtec will develop a new technology for rapidly designing and printing new and existing camouflage patterns with infrared reflective capability onto military textiles. The contract, awarded on 25 Sept., was announced Friday.

Developing textiles with infrared reflective properties may yield the ability to produce soldier uniforms coverings, and other battlefield equipment that largely is invisible to infrared sensors on surveillance and targeting equipment.

Designing and printing camouflage patterns with infrared reflective capability can reflect electromagnetic waves so they give the same signature to the observed object as the signature of the surrounding environment in the visible and near-infrared spectra.

Using infrared reflective technology can disrupt the contours of objects, leading to a blurred image for the observer; the object will blend in with the natural environment, reducing viewability infrared sensors and improving survivability, experts say.

Rothtec specializes in producing, forming, finishing, coating, laminating, and embossing woven, knitted, and nonwoven fabrics, plastics, films, foils, foods, labels, and paper. TEC-Print is the trade name for Rothtec engraved rotary and galvano screens for printing, coating, and laminating.

For more information contact Rothtec Engraving online at www.rothtec.com, or the Natick Soldier Systems Center at www.army.mil/Natick.

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