See This Tank? Poland Hopes You Don’t
We have stealth technology that can hide aircraft and ships from radar, sonar and other means of detection. We have David Copperfield who can make the Statue of Liberty disappear. But can anyone make a tank invisible? Poland claims it can.
In September, 2013, Poland’s OBRUM (Polish acronym for Research and Development Centre for Mechanical Appliances) defense group, working with Britain’s BAE Systems, unveiled a concept demonstrator model of the PL-01, a stealth battlefield tank which will use an angular design and low profile to deflect and avoid radar.
New innovations include reactive panels made of temperature controlling wafers that will match the surrounding conditions to mask its heat signature from nighttime thermal imaging scans. That’s just the beginning. Each wafer can be controlled individually to create a heat image of a completely different vehicle or object. Cover the tank with state-of-the-art camouflage paint and it sounds on paper like the PL-01 is one sneaky Sherman. So when can we not see this invisible tank?
Recent military reports say OBRUM and BAE have begun work on a full prototype of the PL-01 that is scheduled to be completed in 2016 and, if successful, used for mass production in 2018.
Should Poland’s enemies be afraid? While its visibility will be low, the PL-01’s firepower will be high. It will be armed with an unmanned turret, smoke grenade launchers, a 105mm or 120mm smoothbore cannon, a 7.62mm coaxial internal gun and a detachable remotely controlled 7.62 or 50 caliber independent gun turret system. Whoa!
With delivery not until 2018, Poland’s adversaries have plenty of time to learn how to say in Polish, “Tank? What tank?”