Advances in Camouflage Science and Engineering
Organised by IOM Communications on behalf of the IOM3 Defence, Safety and Security Committee
This focused event, delivered by the Defence Safety and Security Committee of the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining will address the following three themes:
Materials science & technology for camouflage
Our aim is to engage with scientists from fields including materials, optics, biology and cognition.
At the fundamental level materials science has over the past two decades made important advances in adaptive materials (e.g. electrochromics, thermochromics), biomimetic materials (inspired by marine and avian fauna and insects) and improved understanding of human cognition. Metamaterials have established themselves as a new field of research with significant potential for signature management, as have textiles with integrated electronic functionality. New concepts of multifunctionality have been developed but so far not implemented. These advances have been paralleled by advances in threat sensors in an ever wider spectral range.
Camouflage engineering & systems
Our aim is to engage with developers, manufactures & suppliers of camouflage systems
While classic camouflage materials (nets, textiles for uniforms, surface coatings, etc) are still essential, modern materiel faces new challenges of mobility, unpredictable operation environments and asymmetric warfare. New manufacturing technologies (printing, pattern creation, temporary coatings and multifunctionality and additive manufacturing) clearly offer new opportunities to meet future operational challenges.
Holistic camouflage including deception
Our aim is to review all aspects of camouflage and signature management systems, from the basic science to the end-user in the field.
Recent military operations have not demanded the now current needs for reduction of contrast with the background, avoidance of identification and deception. Deception for example is a topic which has been neglected for many years.
Recent military operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Middle East have not benefitted greatly from camouflage due to the absence of aggressive threat sensors and the asymmetry of these conflicts and technologically unsophisticated (but highly innovative) opposing forces. Camouflage is much more than simply avoiding detection. This is in many situations unavoidable if the military objective is to be achieved. The driving force for camouflage and signature management is to (i) avoid detection (ii) delay identification (iii) hinder engagement in order to make conflict so costly to the opponent that the situation must be resolved by non-violent means.