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NIR camouflage

nobody owns the night anymore

Hyperspectral imaging and near infrared (NIR) detection devices play a crucial role in military operations, helping armies to carry out night operations and target detection. By combining several class of electromagnetic radiation - EM - (UV, VIS, NIR, SWIR, MWIR, LWIR, microwave) hyperspectral imaging computes spatial morphological information of ground objects with fine spectral information of each pixel, enabling the classification and recognition of the environment and objects. Hyperspectral devices are the cutting-edge technology of military optronics, and they are hard to escape. In this brief article we focus about NIR camouflage and NIR devices, namely night vision goggles and digital night vision cameras. We will treat hyperspectral camouflage with another article in detail.

NIR detection operates in the wavelength band between 780 nm and 2,500 nm (beyond 1300 nm is commonly defined as short wave infrared – SWIR), which is just outside the visible range. NIR light is useful in military operations as it cannot be detected by the naked eye and it can preserve detail at longer ranges, even in conditions of fog and haze. Most night vision devices are capable to detected both visible and NIR radiation and usually they range between 350nm to 1200nm.

NVGs are extremely useful devices for navigation and target acquisition, however the ongoing development of NIR camouflage can dramatically impair NIR detection even at very close range. A growing number of companies focuses on NIR camouflage and here in ProApto we objectively lead the field of 3D NIR camouflage with our Ghillie Suits and standardized Ghillie Camouflage patterns.

Despite in the NIR range colors differences are “flattened”, objects can be clearly differentiate between each other because NIR radiation, as VIS and UV for example, is differentially absorbed and reflected by objects. The bare ground usually has a darker appearance than dry broad leaves, or than green leaves. Indeed, there is a rise in reflectance of leaves, branches, and grasses, which poses a challenge in terms of matching this reflectance with only once piece of camouflage which should match a bare ground or rocks. Additionally, the reflectance of vegetation varies widely and changes seasonally, which makes it difficult to create uniform spectral camouflage materials. Similarly, NIR reflectance is affected by humidity fluctuations and water absorption, for instance after a rain the ground and bark appear darker than in dry conditions, this outlines the challenges of concealing within the NIR spectrum. Anyhow, we sorted this out…

...obviously when we mention NIR Ghillie we mean VIS-NIR camouflage (here it is shown the pattern n.17 fully waterproof and breathable Ghillie Suit).

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