An Israeli company has successfully run a test on dummy missiles painted with a nano-enabled coating, finding that radar could not detect them as missiles, according to published reports.
The company, called Nanoflight, is developing the paint, which makes drones, missiles or war craft very difficult to detect by radar.
The paint, developed in a nanotechnology lab, underwent a successful test run in July, according to Ynetnews, the well-respected English-language sister site of Ynet, Israel's largest news website.
In the test, a thin layer of the coating material was painted on dummy missiles, and radar waves aimed at the missiles had a difficult time registering them, the reports said. The paint particles don't make the missile undetectable by radar, but they do make difficult to positively identify the object as a missile.
The company could not be reached for comment.
‘Breakthrough’ for the battlefield
The paint could one day be used to disguise aircraft, ground vehicles, vessels and even projectiles from enemy radar, company officials have told reporters.
"We are only at the beginning and are discovering new worlds every day," said Eli Shaldag, a former senior Israel Air Force official who worked on Israel’s famed Arrow missile project, one of the most advanced missile defense systems now in use. Shaldag is currently with the military applications department of Nanoflight.
"This is a breakthrough with the potential to change the rules of the game in the battlefield," Shaldag said.
The nanotech paint works by absorbing the electromagnetic waves constantly emitted by radar. Normally, the waves bounce back when they hit something, eventually producing an outline if the signal is regular. The nanotech paint, however, disperses enough of the waves as heat to disrupt detection.
Real-world use of the material is not far off, Shaldag said.
"We have already completed the main development stage,” he said. “We conducted a number of tests and discovered that the particles in their nanotechnology composition do significantly neutralize the ability to detect objects that have been painted with the material. We are entering the second stage, after which we will already be able to produce the material in larger quantities."
Another application under development would work with infrared technology to make soldiers undetectable with night-vision goggles, Shaldag added.
The material also has potential for civilian applications, Nanoflight CEO Ricardo Burstein has said.
"Just like the nanotechnology material can prevent a radar from detecting a missile, it can also prevent radiation emitted by electrical transformers from reaching nursery schools," said Burstein.
The material’s absorption and transformation properties even offer the potential to decrease air pollution, Burstein said. The company is currently conducting a test in the city of Ramat Gan, “in which we are painting guardrails with the material in order to purify pollution from cars," Burstein explained.
Ynetnews called the technology a “considerably more cost-effective method to evade radar detection than purchasing an American stealth plane for $5 billion.”