Whether it’s hand-to-hand or via weaponry, fighting on the ground is a fairly even playing field – except when technology is used to divulge your position. Today’s modern armies use Infrared, or IR, imaging to identify a person via the heat signature they emit. This means hiding in a building, behind a tree, or in the cover of darkness is useless. As long as your body emits heat or infrared radiation, it can be detected by thermal vision devices.
Thermal vision tech looks for differences in temperature. No matter how expertly something is hidden, if it is cooler or warmer than the background, it can be identified by thermal vision. But there are ways to thwart IR devices, which typically require optics to be aimed directly at the target. Here’s how to hide from thermal imaging devices.
Pay attention to your background
Since thermal imaging looks at variances in temperature (hot or cold) in relation to background, you can use the background to your advantage. Find a background that is as close as possible to your body heat (98 degrees). Brick walls or bare earth on sunny days, or a vent emitting hot air may work well.
Bodies of water also emit moisture in the air which can hinder the effectiveness of IR devices. Positioning near a body of water may help conceal your position.
Conversely, a uniform background such as snow, a field of grass, or an empty parking lot, make you stand out more clearly to IR devices. Avoid those areas if possible.
Mylar foil, or “space blankets”, are not only useful for cold-weather survival situations, but they are also an effective means to block infrared radiation. Understand though, your body heat will accumulate inside the blanket and leak from the seams which will be visible to IR image devices. However, a large piece (or several large pieces seamed together) can be suspended to provide “cover” from IR imaging.
Not quite as effective as Mylar foil but better than nothing, a thick woolen blanket can be used as a quick, temporary solution. Cover quickly and move from the area as quickly as you can.
Thick, dense netting
Netting or light material will not block infrared imaging but it does serve to disperse the signature. You’ll likely still be visible but “fuzzy” and potentially hard to pinpoint.
Since the objective is to disguise your body heat as much as possible, even wearing warm pants and a warm hat can help evade thermal imaging devices. However, heat will accumulate in the openings around the neck and arms and likely leak. You can lessen the effect by covering the face, neck, and arms will cool mud.
Despite the transparency of glass, glass quite effectively blocks IR radiation. Positioning a pane of glass in the attic or suspended from a tree, you can place yourself directly under the glass to “hide” from thermal imaging.
Burn it all up. It’s likely a disastrous solution but quite effective. Light everything around you on fire. The massive release of heat creates a wall that blocks thermal pictures. Stay behind the wall of fire and the thermal imaging device and stay close (as possible) to the sources of heat.
Thermal imaging devices do not fix well on moving targets. However, a moving target is much easier to spot. Find a comfortable medium – keep moving but move slowly and with purpose.