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While Israel’s adversaries have improved their ability to spot IDF soldiers using advanced cameras, including thermal cameras and night-vision equipment, until now there has not been a very large investment in camouflage in Israel, asserts Gal Harari, head of the Defense Ministry’s Detectors and Imaging Branch, in the Directorate of Defense Research and Development.

Now, an Israeli camouflage technology is changing the equation, leading to a “revolution in the battlefield,” as it enables frontline soldiers to operate in the vicinity of enemy forces yet remain out of view.

“Kit 300” was developed by Polaris Solutions using special Thermal Visual Concealment (TVC) material. This led to the development of a lightweight camouflage sheet that can also double up as a stretcher.

The material’s nominal weight also means that units can “walk with it without sweating too much,” Harari added. “It lets soldiers conduct ambushes in the field and remain hidden.”

The product successfully passed a pilot program involving Israel Defense Forces special forces. An army infantry brigade was then equipped with it. The IDF must now decide how many additional products it will procure, according to  jns.org.

The cooperation between the Defense Ministry and Polaris Solutions represents an Israeli civilian-military partnership in which the Defense Ministry’s research and defense body responded quickly and attentively to a new idea from a small company.

The traditional stretchers still in common use among infantry soldiers date back decades and have not changed much, said Harari, describing them as complex to operate and heavy. “The company said, ‘we can make camouflage material that is strong and that can also be used as a stretcher,’ ” he recalled.

Finding the right material that lets soldiers blend in with nature and that blocks out their thermal output was the main challenge. The company developed ultra-strong micro-fibers blended with metals and polymers, creating true mechanical strength.

Every soldier equipped with the sheet also has a lightweight stretcher, allowing for rapid evacuation of the injured from the field.

The rainproof material also means that units can conduct an ambush or set up a surveillance point by joining the sheets together to resemble rocks that blend into the environment.