The nature of recon and snipers is to remain undetected for as long as possible. This is a known fact. That’s why we build ghillie suits. That’s why we practice digging holes to lay in that look like they aren’t there. Up until the 21st century, this worked well against our enemies. It was effective and being able to utilize it scared the shit out of them. Unfortunately, as we advance our warfighting technology, so do our global enemies; some directly stealing the technology from us. One particularly useful tool when employed properly is the modern thermal viewer. Rather it be a DVE in an armored vehicle, or a PAS 13 on a light machine gun, these devices can typically defeat your concealment. It has been a long running effort to figure out a way to defeat them. Mostly it has boiled down to positioning and timing, but that often is not enough.
During training we often do “force on force” where we go up against our own people and our own technology. Every infantry stryker is now equipped with a thermal viewer which supports its heavy machine gun system. Basically, if they can find you, you’re toast. Not to mention the driver has a thermal camera to observe with as well. For the sake of opsec, I’ll spare any ranges or specifics on what I have encountered as far as their limitations. However, do know, they are not perfect, and they can be defeated.
Don’t let your technology give you a false sense of security.
A friend in a similar position as mine recently developed a simple tool to defeat thermals. He, of course asked to remain anonymous. Through the course of the discussion among a few of us, he ended up being referred to as “Anonymous Poncho”. So we will now refer to him as AP for the remainder of this post. I won’t give away any of AP’s secret design, but I will show you the tested effects of this simple tool.
As you can see in this image we have three thermal signatures. Bottom right is a regular heat signature from a person who walked in the picture. He photo bombed this one, but inadvertently provided training value. Top left is the product when quickly deployed against the body in direct contact. You can clearly see the outline of a person. Doesn’t seem very effective when shown next to the top right where there is simply a poncho suspended over a person. While not as clearly defined, you can still see a very hot signature and you would easily recognize that something is there.
As you can see from these pictures taken of the regular suspended poncho after 30 minutes, you can still see a large, though dimmer, heat signature where the poncho has trapped the heat. Not very effective, though better than standing there without anything.
This next picture will show you AP’s invention when it is not directly on the body and suspended. This photo was taken after a 30 minute wait to allow heat build up.
You can see here that there is virtually no signature. There’s hardly enough heat signature to distinguish AP’s setup from the concrete around him.
Like I said, trade secrets. We recognize that this design could potentially be used with us and against us, so for now the design will remain with us. Hopefully, we’ll never have to go against a foe that has reliable thermals, but if we do, its good to know that there are successful ways around it.
Stay hidden; stay safe.