back to article Sun: MoD has Bond/Potter/Klingon cloaking device

The quality press is awash with invisible-tank stories this morning, as the Daily Mail, Telegraph, Ananova news wire et al pile into an exclusive scoop by the Sun. It would seem that the Currant Bun scribes have spoken to a squaddie from the Royal Engineers, who claims to have been involved in trials last week featuring a ( …


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  1. Paul

    optical radiation

    Tut tut tut. MP's, the Mail and to genral population will campain against this. The use of the word radiation. School boy error.

  2. Mark Roome


    Lewis Page

    Without that picture, I would be at a complete loss. I am so glad you inserted it as without it I would never have been able to imagine how this technology works.



    P.S. I think it goes very well with that disappearing beer you have there.

  3. Ivan Headache

    The only reason your shed is invisible

    in the picture is because you're on the inside looking out through the window.

    And you thought us reg readers were stupid enough to fall for it.

  4. Anonymous Coward


    Oh yes, that makes it on to the list, along with the flying car and personal teleportation.

    I want one now !

  5. Robin Traylor

    How many sheds?

    Arthur Jackson would be proud!

  6. Adam


    The tank is clearly visiable using anti-invisible glasses

  7. The Mighty Spang


    Fine if you are sitting still in nice weather, how long till the camera grots up doing something like moving around or when its raining.

    plus the antidote to this is probably infra-red cameras.

    also not sure how its going to work as camera-projector is just one angled view, hows it going to work in full 360?

  8. BigTim
    Paris Hilton


    Presumably this is the same technology Paris Hilton and Brtiney Spears have had built into their underwear?

  9. tardigrade
    Thumb Up

    It's all true...

    .. and I can prove it. Look I found an Egghead from GCHQ on the side of the road the other week took him to the pub for a laugh and whilst bladdered he spilled the beans on this little breakthrough.

    Not only is it a clocking device but it's also a combined deflector shield. Gordon Brown is pumping trillions into it's development. The plan is that next time there is even a sniff of a general election No 10 will disappear and any criticism will bounce straight off.

    I should warn you that they are also working on a "Reality Distortion Field" that will have a range covering the whole of the UK. It will make everyone believe that everything that all politicians say is completely true without question. It's based upon technology that MI6 nicked off Steve Jobs who has had one with a global reach for years apparently.

    I'd like to verify the source for you but sadly whilst I was being told all this a Black Helicopter landed and two Greys got out and vaporised the Egghead. Shame.

  10. Anonymous Coward

    Nice one Lewis

    It's about time someone had a dig at the tabloids (oo-er) for their hysterical science reporting.

    This one by the Sun almost reaches the level of that Sunday Sport classic "World War 2 Bomber Found On Moon!", which they followed up (after everyone pointed out that it was a load of bollocks) with "World War 2 Bomber - Missing!".

    Maybe the aliens had invisible-shed-on-moon technology back then and this Sun piece is the missing piece of the puzzle. I could be on to something here. Eric von Daniken made a fortune out of this kind of shite in the 70s.

  11. Karl Lattimer
    Black Helicopters

    Do you really believe everything you read in the papers?

    I think I'll digest this with a large pinch of salt, even though the technology is possible to develop metamaterials and nanotech are no where near mature enough.

    You see its not the mention of metamaterials that makes me think hang on a minute, its the mention of cameras and projectors. Sure its relatively easy to make a shed appear to disappear, because its rectangular and box like. A simple logical deduction would immediately show that you can't "look down a barrel" and not see it at all, simply as the barrel has no light emitted from the inside and to have the light emitted from the inside would require a non functional gun, or a glistening shell tip sitting in the most bizarrely improbable of positions.

    Oh and don't forget the refractivity of any part of the machine and minuscule differences in angles would cause it to be visible, and produce strange optical effects. Think "Predator"...

    Putting a tank in an invisible shed is a different thing entirely.

    Its kind of like that stealth thing when the US were testing the B2 bomber. The brits new it was flying over head for weeks, it didn't have any radar reflectivity, but also, galactic background radiation failed to pass through the plane creating a shadow, which was detectable. Dumb ass yanks who rely heavily on positive radar readings and ignore negative ones.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Invisible shed

    Already got one, and I defy anyone to publish a photo showing otherwise.

  13. Harry

    Should go down well on ebay

    Dunno about sheds, but they've been selling not just invisible but completely undetectable laptops and phones for many many years.

    Even the seller becomes highly invisible the moment they sell one. As does the buyer's money, usually.

  14. Ash

    Where's the deterrant?

    "Of course, you do realise that if you march your soldiers over our borders we'll shoot you with our invisible tanks. We do have them. Honest. Look, you can see one over there! *Points* What, you can't see it? GOOD BECAUSE IT'S INVISIBLE HAHAHA UR SO GAY!!1"

    Personally, i'd think be more concerned about very visible tanks lined up and ready to fire then invisible ones pretending to be.

  15. paulc

    They should have asked my brother...

    he's the world expert on invisibility... he's never to be found when it's his round...

  16. Anonymous Coward


    I've had my invisible army building up in secret for years now, and they have to let the cat out of the bag. There is one huge problem with this technology as we found out in the invisible war games, we can't find the enemy, and they can't find us! So in the end we told them we had them surrounded, still waiting for a reply. We tried to invade, but could not find the enemy headquarters. We did blow up a few sheds though.

    War is now obsolete.

  17. Graham Jordan

    Invisible shed?

    So when can i pick these up from ikea?

  18. Anonymous Coward

    Ask Paul Daniels about the mirror trick

    You'll like it, not a lot.

  19. David Paul Morgan

    why all the fuss?

    I can do this standing at a bar with a £10 note and not one barman can see me!

  20. Damian Gabriel Moran

    I am already invisible to most road users

    when I am on my bicycle, so I think the MOD have a lot of catching up to do!

  21. Edward Rose

    Sun's a little late

    Of course the tank's bleedin' invisible. that's why they paint them funky green or of late sandy colours...

    Camera's take a photo of the terrain people are planning to invade (multimap has been making this simple for years).

    People project the image onto a screen and some pen pushers who wouldn't know what a field would look like otherwise decide what pattern to use.

    People paint the tank with that pattern.

    Fits the Sun story perfectly.

    Should I don my coat?

  22. Mark Wood

    Lost mine already

    Now where did I put my new invisible shed? Blast!

  23. Dan
    Black Helicopters


    'Invisible' is a bit strong for this one - the idea was basically to video the scene from one side of an object and project it as an image onto the opposite side, resulting in a 'see-through' object. Hardly invisible though - more like 'active camouflage' a la Predator. Anything else I would be highly suspicious of.

  24. Teh_Vermicious_Knid

    yet more totally useless tech.

    the persons that sanctioned this ridiculous fucking project should all be shot in the testicles.

    the scientific community really ought to grow up and consider VALUABLE systems, that solve REAL problems facing tank commanders and crews on todays battlefields, rather than fucking around chasing novelty sci-fi nonsense like this.

    i recommend shooting in the testicles as a way to gently simulate to these asshole scientists just how it can feel to be sitting in an armoured vehicle when an infra-red triggered improvised explosive device goes off next to you.

    get to work on some meaningful detection systems, or perhaps bring on the next generation composite armours.

    our boys are dying out there by the score, and this is the best you can come up with?

    you ought to be bloody well ashamed.

  25. Anonymous Coward

    Invisible Tanks?..

    ..I'll believe it when I see it.

  26. Astarte

    Ancient Myths

    Nothing new about this - J R R Tolkien stated that the High Elves invented this technology and produced 'Elven-Cloaks' quite a long time ago. But did they patent it I wonder?

    I think a lot of people have these anyway. I've sometimes arranged to meet someon who didn't turn up but swore that they really were there.

  27. Martin Gregorie

    @Carl Lattimer

    The story is all true except that:

    - it was the Serbs, not the Brits who first used the technique

    - they spotted and shot down an F-117, not a B2

    - it showed it up in RF from TV transmitters, not cosmic radiation.

    An array of passive receiving dishes and a *lot* of computer power did the trick, so there's your IT angle. This setup was helped along by the F-117s always using the same exit track after bombing missions, so the Serbs knew which region of sky to monitor and where to site the SAM.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton


    Camera's and projectors? Cant wait for some squaddie to plug in the wrong toughbook, and pipe the pltoons lesbian porn collection all across the tank they are supposed to be hiding....

  29. Mike

    Way to do it...

    The way I would do it if I was designing it would be to use a massive lenslet array over the whole exterior of the tank.

    Each lenslet would consist of a small semiconductor with integrated optical sensors and leds, covered with a hemispherical lens over large groups of these pairs of sensors and leds.

    The problem comes not from the manufacture, which is fairly straight forward, but from the interconnect between the sensors on one side of the tank and the leds on the other.

    Overall, it could give cloaking and external 3d displays for a fairly trivial amount of power.

  30. SoupDragon

    Was the military gent in question a Sgt Franz Harary by any chance?

    Franz Harary is a magician/illusionist, famous for making a Space Shuttle disappear in 1994 which aired on NBC’s “World’s Greatest Magic”, as well as making MD-80 airliner appear from thin air in 1992, and for making the Luxor Hotel in Las Vegas disappear in 1997.

    Seems like he might have good promotion prospects!

  31. Anonymous Coward

    Invisible? Blown up?

    Hell, I figure if you blow something up it's invisible. Problem solved. The real issue is why you brits think you'll gain anything by blowing up your own tanks. Inside sheds. Or something. What the hell?

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    DOH !!

    You can imaging the 'hidden' tank creeping along into battle when one if the squaddies inside sits on the 'projector' remote control and switches the tank to bright blue with input2 flashing on the turret !!!

    Or swaps the input to his ipod which he watching his 'Frankie Vaughn' on.

  33. Rob Holmes

    Lexus can already do this

    Has no-one seen the new hybrid advert? Surely the MoD is well behind on this issue. Maybe the next major British tank will be built by Lexus, have a really quiet angine and be a hybrid, so better for the planet too.

  34. Senor Beavis

    Talk to the experts

    The Inland Revenue have been making my hard-earned wedge disappear for years

  35. amanfromMars Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    The Yellow Banana Bush .....and Proud to be American.

    "War is now obsolete."

    Yes, so what is the reasoning for it? Smash and Grab/Rape and Plunder. Ah well... at least the enemy storm troopers are plain enough for everyone to See. Has the Force been turned on and against the Cowboy Custer Element? .

    IT's wonderful what a Financial Meltdown will do as it is surely only the dollar and the Banks/Bankers prosecuting Death and Destruction rather than providing InfraStructure and Construction ..... except for themselves apparently and the marauding bands of private mercenaries given immunities and therefore making the Regular Army even more likely to be despised and targetted. It is just like how the Wild West was won against the native Red Indian, Kemo Sabe ....all over again. Heap bad Medicine, man.

    Whose dumb ass idea was that to privatise War and dispense with Rules and Responsibility and Accountability? When the war is over, who is going to think of them a conquering hero in a war zone rather than a psychotic bully in devastated third world country.

    And what did you do in the war, daddy, with your overwhelming military force? Was it a fair fight or rigged with just a few kids fighting to stay alive in a Free Fire Civilian Zone?

    Sounds very holocausty/killing fields and definitely not cricket, ole boy.

  36. Barry

    If all else fails...

    ... it will prevent the Yanks from shooting us!

    If they can't see us, they can't shoot us!!

    Or, would they just shoot anyway, and then claim (legitmately) that they, "Couldn't see y'all there".

  37. Danny


    This mucking around with cameras, projectors, metamaterials and other advanced technology is altogether unnecessary. All one would need is a large octopus skin (or several sewn together) within which to enclose the tank and an octobrain as the central cloaking control mechanism. How hard can it be?

  38. Ross

    Wall hax?

    I feel sorry for our infantry boys. I'm no military expert, but surely the main point of tanks at the moment isn't blowing things up but providing cover for infantry in urban settings?

    Can you imagine trying to hide behind an invisible tank? Tenner says some poor bugger walks in front of it by accident. *squelch* And even if you could take cover behind it the enemy could still see you and what you were doing. Seems silly to me... Cool, but silly.

  39. Anonymous John

    The roof of my shed is invisible.

    Ever since a gale earlier this year.

  40. Anonymous Coward

    I only see one shed

    @ Robin Traylor

    "Arthur Jackson would be proud!"

    Not to mention pleased. Now he could have as many sheds as he likes without the constant jibes from the neighbours!

  41. Giles Jones Gold badge


    All the enemy needs is thermal imaging or radar and the game is up.

  42. A J Stiles

    Oh come on, it's _The Sun_

    Come on, this is _The Sun_ we're talking about. A picture in which a tank is clearly not visible is all the proof a Sun-reader needs that it is a picture of an invisible tank!

    Expect an outraged story in a few weeks' time, about how gangs of paedophiles are using "invisibility technology" to spy on your kids.

  43. Karl Lattimer

    @Martin Gregorie

    I heard the story about a year after the B2 was announced around 1990/91, I was only young so all the details are sketchy, maybe it was the TV signals rather than the galactic background, I remember specifically it being the B2 as I was pretty fascinated with the aircraft at the time, being a super-cool flying wing and all, and me being a young boy. Someone of course came and shattered my dreams of invisibility way back then...

    Anyway by 1999 when the serbs shot down an F117 the story was old news already, and I infact was telling people this story to explain the major flaw in stealth technology at the time, as nobody could understand how it was possible. If they implemented the same method then bully for them, but I'm pretty sure the brits got there first. As I was told, they politely called up the US military commander in question, and said something polite like "Hello there, this large triangular thing that keeps flying over us, could you please fly it elsewhere"

  44. Dan

    @The only reason your shed is invisible

    surely "ivor headache" would work better?

  45. Anonymous Coward

    Could be useful!

    Just imagine how useful this invisible shed would be on a fine summers day!

    "Yes dear, I'll be happy to cut the grass. However I can't find the lawnmower....".

    Now can we get back on the serious subjects. We haven't got time to waste all this bandwidth - none to spare with the serious Paris Hilton stories.....


  46. Alan

    re:invisible tank

    I just can't see it myself.

  47. Jeff

    I guess this was on the same patent application

    as the Currant's invisible journalistic integrity...

  48. TeeCee Gold badge

    Why invisible?

    Picture the scene, a battlefield some time in the future:


    Capt: What reports from our reconnaissance patrols?

    Sgt: They appear to be sending an attractive line in shiplap sided garden sheds against us sir.

    Capt: The poor fools. Their wooden shed technology is no match for our bombs and missiles, it'll be like shooting fish in a barrel.

    Sgt: Wait a minute sir, there's something going on. The doors are opening and...THERE ARE TANKS INSIDE THE SHEDS!!!"

    Capt: Ohmigod, we're all dead.


    See? No need for invisibility at all.

  49. Rich Harding

    @David Paul Morgan

    That's because standing at a bar with money out is one of the unwritten no-nos anyone who's spent much time on the serving side of a bar could tell you. In the barperson world - and more importantly the virtual queue representation in their head - that's a "Go Back Two Spaces" card. Wave it around and you'll be lucky to get a drink this side of Xmas.

  50. Anonymous Coward


    <-- OLD

    Walked into my local Army Surplus Depot the other day. Buggered if I could find the camoflage gear

  51. b shubin
    Black Helicopters

    Secure, undisclosed location

    could someone PLEASE get lots of these invisible sheds to the US government, so they can stop building those huge bunkers all over the place?

    that way, the next time they need to hide from the people they are supposed to serve, they can just assemble the damn sheds, and take them down when they're done revising whatever section of the Constitution they happen to be "working on"...oh right, they're just ignoring it, aren't they?

    well, at least we won't have to look at them, then. any time George the Younger or Dick (how fitting, that name) become invisible, it's a happy occasion.

  52. amanfromMars Silver badge

    Methinks IT is a Nero fiddlin' and diddlin' while Rome burns story.

    Are tanks running deathly silent nowadays or are they still quite noisy?

    I stiil think Hearts and Minds and the Beta Management of Perception and White Propaganda wins Peace and makes War History but if you have Weak Mind, the Dumb Hick Gung Ho Grunt Route/Root won't tax it too much.

    It is though an interesting virtual visual live camouflage. Does Iraq exist or is it only made up and filmed in the desert a la the Moon Landings? Now that would be Real Stealthy and you could Create a Whole New World Order with that Methodology and InterNetworking Technologies.

    Shame about the Shoot 'em Up Script though whenever there are Dreams to Build instead of thinking Invisible Sheds.

  53. amanfromMars Silver badge


    What, what, what ..... old chap. Ye olde cross my Palm with Sheds of Silver and say no more Routine....... or Seven Sevens as previously always mooted a Spooky Alien Account.

    And that does make Perfect Sense on one very particular and peculiar Plane/Level/Dimension/Parallel and is AI Quantum Communications BetaTest Live Round/Firing. I Kid U Not.

    British Boffinry at AI Level you would Most Definitely have difficulty Believing.:-)

  54. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    @I only see one shed

    No, no. Look. This shed business -- it doesn't really matter. The sheds aren't important. A few friends call me Two Sheds and that's all there is to it. I wish you'd ask me about the music. Everybody talks about the sheds. They've got it out of proportion -- I'm a composer. I'm going to get rid of the shed. I'm fed up with it!

  55. Luther Blissett


    Ah ha. So THAT'S the collective noun for many Elvis-es. Very Latin. (High Elves then presumably being the less vertically challenged ones).

  56. Mike Moyle

    Nothing against your British Boffins...

    (I love that word!)

    ... But we in the U.S. of A. have had spurious invisible armaments since WW 2.

    (And no messing around with piddlin' little TANKS, either... We didn't make WHOLE SHIPS disappear!)

  57. Jan Buys
    Thumb Down

    amanfrommars posts

    Can El Reg at least put them in another colour, so it's easier to skip them?

  58. Josh


    @Teh_Vermicious_Knid: I agree very much...very, very much.

    @Double Dekkers: Again, I agree...very, very much...

  59. A J Stiles


    So it makes the shed invisible, and the contents with it? Shame, I thought it might just make the shed invisible and leave the contents on display -- and the thieving chavs trying to nick your mower would bump into the invisible shed walls.

    (A bit like the way the Invisible Man's footprints suggest he was wearing shoes, yet clothing touching any other part of his body would remain visible.)

  60. Ross Fleming

    We've had these for years

    Invisible sheds? They're called greenhouses round this way.

  61. Kevin Dwyer
    Thumb Down

    @I only see one shed/ Arthur Jackson, et al

    If you had actually listened to what Arthur had to say you would know that he was in posession of only one shed, had mentioned the possibility of aquiring a second, but had not done so. Only one shed to cloak!

  62. Jon Tocker

    Brilliant pic

    That's an invisible shed if ever I saw one!

    Yeah right! You sneaky bastards at The Reg are pulling the wool over our eyes. That's not a pic of an invisible shed.

    It's a pic containing an invisible tank, invisible shed, Bond's Aston Martin, a stealthed Bird of Prey, Harry Potter, the Emperor's new clothes AND the invisible man.

    You buggers can't fool me!

  63. Anonymous Coward

    I see the MoD have got their mind on the "right tools for the right job"

    How about investing in some body armour and radar jammers for the lads we sent to Iraq rather than pratting about paying qinetiq the big bucks to play at being 'Q' with tactically useless nanotech.

  64. Mike Hocker


    Wikipedia entry for F117 basically claims the downed plane was due to long wave radar occasionally tracking the F117 and lots of augmented eyes peeping around seeing one momentarily. Enough glimpses and enough SAMs and there you go-- no need for thousands of stellar background monitor boxes on everyone's roof to search for shadowing.

    What amazed me were the peasants stomping on the fragments-- they should have grabbed all the bits they could and auctioned them off on eBay. Would have made a tidy sum, especially the canopy with the name on it. Wouldn't surprise me if there are still a few bits out there in the countryside.... hmmmm.....

  65. Trevor

    Gimme one of them!

    I would love cloaking for my car, imagine one of them bloody gatso's taking a picture of "nothing" going at 40mph. Fine me then, b*stards!

    Unless if you are caught speeding while cloaked, would you get invisible points on your license?

  66. Hate2Register

    Oh dear, the Sun beat you to a crap story..

    Oh whoops, the dear old Sun is your source for a story. You must be proud.. I wonder if it's true, or just the ramblings of some pissed up Friday hack, who may or may not know some pissed up former MoD man.

  67. Matthew
    Thumb Up


    I cant see the invisible shed in that pic =D can someone point it out for me?

  68. Anonymous Coward

    Werner Von Braun

    The MoD have beaten the Americans to the booty this time round, In WW2 the Yanks got the rocket technology Hitler used to develop the V2 etc. Looks like we got the technology used to hide the WMD.

  69. Dave

    invisibility experiments

    In the spectrum of technologies with potential military application there comes a point where 'camouflage' could be referred to as 'invisibility' by lazy, ignorant hack journalists. (@ 'Hate2Register') Lewis P included sufficient blindingly obvious hints in his reporting ofa Sun article to indicate that he understood full well the particular journalistic approach that had probably pertained.

    I think the Brits have been in the forefront of camouflage research for a v long time; Project Dazzle attempted - sucessfully in many cases - to modify the visible signature of ships in WW1, years before the 'Philadelphia' episode.

    Sympathise with the many commenters who have exprssed righteous indignation that military scientific research needs to be applied to the immediate situation of our troops today; situation IS improving, sadly too slowly.

  70. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Invisible my eye!

    The Daleks tried this once, on the planet Spiridon. And they weren't successful. Who are the supreme beings now eh?

  71. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Alternative applications

    I am surprised that this technology isn't being adapted for use outside the military.

    I think possibly the most applicable use of such technology is in the entertainment industry, after all with HD, LCD, Plasma display technology being what it is the next logical step has to be 3D TV.

    One of the problems with producing 3D TV has to be the fact to produce the data required for 3D images to be generated requires multiple sources of capture and obviously they need to be camouflaged otherwise they become part of the footage.

    What industry has historically driven media technology?

    The porn industry.

    3D Porn it's the future and it's not far away.

    Now there's the Paris Hilton Angle :-)

  72. Astarte

    @Elves - a bit of history

    The cloaking system was considered to be a technology too risky for mere mortals and the whole shebang was relocated to a cloaked city. Your link with Elvis is quite correct in as much that Elvis was the original King of The Elves and his followers were first known as Elivisers, later shortened to Elv’s (through common use by his sidekicks Julian and Sandy). Elven was the adjectival form used for anything produced by the Elves provided it was stamped with the ‘Galadriel’ Certificate of Conformity (Galadriel came from ‘Glad you are well’ – a common greeting). The term 'High Elves' came into common use as a form of greeting - 'Hi, Elveses' - and was later improved and changed to the more common form for collective use. The location of the Cloaked City, a mystery for a long time, has been proved to be on the 'Dark' side of the moon where emerging technology led to its discovery in our post-war years. Originally - and still effective - the prototype cloaking method was to hide it all behind a chunk of rock. The general location is known as the 'Grey Havens' - from 'Gray Havens' where its location was represented in a particular form of binary code [That’s the IT angle folks]. The King was also known colloquially as the 'Binary Star' or 'King of Rock'. Terms such as 'heavens above' were derived from 'Havens above' and through some weird knowledge actually indicated the true location of the cloaked city without anyone understanding why.

  73. Jon Tocker


    @ Clint Sharp: You bastard! I had a gobful of coffee when I read your post. Bill for cleaning is in the mail.

    @ Dave: Some things are too subtle for "Hate2Register". Probably never was read "The Emporer's New Clothes" when (s)he was a kid.

    @ Me: Forgot to mention the elf and the Predator that were clearly invisible in that pic...

  74. Philippa Sutton

    Not the Klingons?

    Surely cloaking is a Romulan technology - our boffins might have more luck with development if they were looking for advice on the right planet.

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