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European Defence Agency launches ASCALS project to identify smart and adaptive materials to enhance camouflage of land systems

The European Defence Agency (EDA) has launched a new research and technology project aimed at improving new armament-related capabilities by enhancing camouflage and decreasing the signature of ground systems. The Advanced Solutions for Camouflage of Land Systems using smart and adaptive materials (ASCALS) - project aims at finding new materials and their application processes for active and adaptive camouflage in the visible, infrared and radar ranges.
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Barracuda Multispectral Camouflage (Picture source: SAAB)

In the face of highly sophisticated modern detection systems, the development of advanced materials and techniques to improve camouflage and decrease the signature of military ground systems is increasingly important. Effective concealment prevents ground systems from being detected, identified and observed, and in this way provide additional protection without affecting weight and mobility. Consequently, effective concealment improves stealth reconnaissance capability and surprise factor for ground systems. The wide variety of operational environments of modern ground systems creates a need for active and adaptive camouflage concepts that reduce optical and thermal signatures under a variety of possible terrain and weather conditions.

ASCALS intends to address these challenges and pursue the advantages of smart and adaptive camouflage. The project will focus on the development of advanced materials for absorption and obscuring techniques. Whereas ASCALS will specifically investigate the feasibility of application to selected military ground platforms, the results of the project can be expected to bear potential for usage in the maritime and air domain as well.

ASCALS will run for 18 months with a budget of 1,3 M euros and brings together ten partners from six Member States. A follow-on phase (ASCALS II) is already envisioned to optimise the most promising routes identified in ASCALS I and develop several demonstrators. These demonstrators shall be assembled in land platforms and tested in a relevant environment, within an expected timeframe of 2027.

Ten partners from six Member States

The first phase of the project has officially started and is funded by Greece (the lead Nation), Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Poland, Portugal and Sweden. Within EDA, ASCALS is a cross-Capability and Technology Group (CapTech) project prepared in the CapTech Ground Systems and CapTech Materials and Structures within EDA’s Research, Technology and Innovation Directorate.

The project will be implemented by a consortium led by Adamant Composites (Greece) and comprising ten more industrial and research entities: University of Luxembourg; TNO, MIS7 and Bolidt (The Netherlands); Military Institute of Engineer Technology and LUBAWA S.A. (Poland); CITEVE, INEGI and Military Research Academy (Portugal); Swedish Defence Research Agency.

Defense News June 2023

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