Soldiers from the 3rd Battalion The Rifles
have taken part in trials of a high-tech camouflage which has been likened to Harry Potter’s “invisibility cloak.”
The material, called Vatec, can help the soldiers disappear from view and hide them from infra-red and heat-seeking equipment.
During field trials in the United States, British snipers could use the sheets to build hideaways.
Troops have called on the government to invest in the camouflage.
Corporal Tyrone Hoole, from 3 RIFLES, told the Mail on Sunday:
“This is an absolutely brilliant piece of kit. The lads are desperate for the Army to buy it. Instead of carrying chicken wire, spray paint and thermal sheets we can use this one item, which is really light.”
It’s reported the testing took place earlier this year at the US Army’s centre for experimental warfare techniques in Fort Benning, Georgia.
3 RIFLES train in the US
However, even more advanced camouflage is believed to be as little as five years away.
Material capable of changing colour in seconds is being developed by scientists, which would adapt to the surroundings.
It mimics the way some animals, such as squid or octopuses, can change their colour to avoid a predator.
Using thousands of light-sensitive cells, the dynamic camouflage would reportedly detect surrounding colours and trigger a top layer to imitate the area using heat-sensitive dyes.
Engineering professor Xuanhe Zhao, based at MIT, said:
“I have high hopes for its use in military camouflage. At the moment the military spends millions of dollars developing new camouflage patterns but they're all static right now, they don't change."
“If you put a pattern designed for the forest into the desert, it is not going to function. Dynamic camouflage would allow soldiers and their vehicles to adapt to their surroundings instantly.”
Cover Image: Junior soldiers from the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 5th Battalions The Rifles being put through their paces in Scotland.