In collaboration with BAE Systems, Polish Defense Holding’s Obrum developed a semi-autonomous tank complete with thermal camouflage.
Named the PL-01, the prototype armor is a 35,000kg (77,162lb), 7-meter long battle tank with a full compliment of modern weapons systems. Capable of travelling 70km/h on paved roads, the PL-01 is armed to the teeth packing a 7.62mm machine gun, a 120mm cannon, multiple grenade launchers and a remote controlled weapons station crowning its roof.
With its front-end and turret encased in a ceramic-aramid shell, the PL-01 was given a NATO-approved light armor rating. To compliment those hardened components, the rest of the vehicles hull and under carriage have been clad with additional armor panels that can protect against incoming projectiles and IEDs.
While traditional armor keeps the PL-01’s three-member tank crew safe from imminent encounters, the lightning quick unit is also armed with a patchwork of thermal tiles that compliment its low radar-signature profile.
Using its intermeshed hexagonal tiles the PL-01’s armor can mimic the ambient temperature of a surrounding combat zone, rendering it invisible to infrared guided missiles and drones looking to destroy opposition forces.
Although the PL-01 is only a demonstrator, Obrum says it will have a fully functional prototype available in 2016, with production models rolling off the line just two years later.
Once available to armies the world over, the PL-01 and its thermal technology will likely represent the most advanced form of modern stealth available to armored vehicles. That is until missile developers find a new way to target tanks, or revert back to a visible spectrum-based system.
Image and Video Courtesy of Obrum