Is Poland’s Stealthy PL-01 The Tank Of The Future?

The idea of the PL-01 is to try and eliminate the infrared, radar and visual signature of the traditional tank to a large degree, while also relying on guile to take identity masking a step further. In addition, the PL-01 concept aims at brining to market a tank packed with relevant modern features, many of which already exist off the shelf,


 The vast majority of targeting sensors on the battlefield today rely on the infrared band of the electromagnetic spectrum to do their bidding. The PL-01 attempts its almost magical infrared signature reduction via the installation of temperature controlled wafers that blanket its exterior. This chameleon’s skin of sorts, allows the tank’s skin to match the infra-red signature of its surroundings. It does this by processing what small infrared sensors mounted around the tank detect, and then displays a pattern on the tank’s honeycomb-like covering that best matches the infrared data collected.

As a result, the tank all but disappears to infrared sensors. Even more outstanding, these wafers can also be used like pixels, as each can be manipulated in temperature. This allows for the tank to use active infrared camouflage, such as tiger stiping its infrared signature in the jungle, or making it flat like the sand in the desert. The PL-01 also lowers its infrared signature through cooling and dispersing the exhaust from its 940 hp diesel engine.

The PL-01’s proposed active infrared camouflage system can even go a step further, from concealment to trickery. The tank can even make itself look like a car or another common object, via matching the temperature of its surroundings and then displaying a preprogrammed image on its temperature controlled wafers. This is an amazing countermeasure that, if reliable, can make enemy detection and the creation of a firing solution almost impossible during nighttime operations for a large percentage of any enemy’s anti-tank weapon systems.

Active camoflauge for military vehicles is nothing new, in fact it has been tested as far back as the 1940’s via mounting lights on aircraft, and later ones that change intensity and shade depending on their background. There are rumors that “visual stealth” was tested on aircraft as late as the 1990’s.

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