Making Army Units Disappear

Remember the Klingon cloaking device on Star Trek? Science fiction back then -- but not any more. Meet the Black Fox.

Hana Levi Julian, | updated: 12:50

IDF tanks operating in the north
IDF tanks operating in the north
Israel news photo: Flash 90 / illustrative

Remember the cloaking device used by the Klingon war ships in those old Star Trek television programs? Science fiction, right?

Not any more.

Meet the Black Fox Active Adaptive IR Stealth System, created by Israeli start-up firm Eltics Ltd., a company that produces electronic warfare systems in Ashkelon. The new technology can make a helicopter, tank or ship, vanish into thin air.

Or at least, that is how it appears. The system, financed by private investors, made its debut on Channel 10 TV last week. It comes with a FLIR camera that takes a snapshot of the environment in which the unit is operating. The equipment analyzes the thermal signature of the environment, and then screens the exact same signature on to plates fitted on to the machine.

“A tank, armored personnel carrier or ship equipped with this system can become invisible to thermal night vision systems, guided missiles and a missile's sight,” Eltics Ltd. CEO Ronen Meir explained to the interviewer. So far, Black Fox is in the advanced prototype stage.

“In the past, it has been customary to say 'We own the night.' But now, we say, 'We share the night,'” Meir later told the Xinhua news service, explaining that night vision technology has become all-too-commonplace among armies – and terrorist cells -- around the world.

Black Fox returns the advantage of night warfare, said Meir, “beginning at the intelligence level and up to the tactical and strategic level.”  For obvious reasons, he revealed little else, other than to add that the firm was awaiting an infusion of funds to take the technology to the next level.