MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va. -- As the threat of detection on the battlefield rises, troops have been testing a new camouflage net they can quickly throw over their heads to conceal themselves from enemy drones.
Marines at the East Coast School of Infantry tested the Barracuda Individual Warfighter Net this year, said Steve Simmerer, director of business development with Saab Defense and Security. The nets are made from the same materials Marines and soldiers already use to cover and conceal their vehicles, weapons and command posts.
"Because of the increasing threat and prevalence and prominence of drones on the battlefield, where anyone can buy a drone and put an iPhone on your drone and you can detect people on the battlefield, it's important that even the individual soldier or Marine is concealed," Simmerer said during the Modern Day Marine Expo here. "This will help to do that."
The 6-pound net is available in woodland, desert and battlefield-specific patterns. The hood can be detached, and the entire net rolls up to fit into a small compression bag.
"As the soldier or Marine is out there exposed and a drone flies over, they can pull this out, put it over themselves as the drone passes by, and then continue on with their mission," Simmerer said.
The Marine Corps and Army already use Saab's Ultra Lightweight Camouflage Net System. The net material mitigates detection in the visual, near infrared, shortwave infrared, thermal infrared and broadband-radar wavebands, according to product specifications.
All of that is becoming increasingly important as the nature of warfare changes, Simmerer said.
"We've been operating primarily in Afghanistan and Iraq in the Middle East over the last 15 years or so at forward operating bases," he said. "Now there's more interest in going back into Europe and Korea, where you could find large force-on-force-type engagement where concealment and signature management are very important on the battlefield again."
Saab also produces camouflage net systems that conceal tanks and other vehicles or aviation covers that protect aircraft from sun, sand and light damage.