In its latest round of solicitations for small businesses, the Army is asking for proposals for super-black material. That is, material so black that it absorbs 99 percent of all light. But it isn’t really black paint, exactly. The plan is to use either an “antireflective coating or surface treatment process for metals” to absorb stray light “in the ultraviolet, visible, infrared, and far-infrared regions.” This, the Army hopes, will boost the quality of high-resolution cameras, while also cooling down sensitive electronics. Or to put it another way: The Army needs the color black to reflect its icy-cold heart.
Another curious thing is that the program is being run out of the Army’s Program Executive Office Ammunition at the Picatinny Arsenal, a main center for the Pentagon’s experiments in all sorts of weapons: from rifles and tank cannons to directed-energy weapons. But the purpose of the solicitation isn’t much more specific than described. “Simply put, it’s too early yet to speculate on where the technology(s) will go,” Frank Misurelli, an Army spokesman at Picatinny said in a statement provided to Danger Room. ”Possibly in a few months, after an contract has been awarded, more information may become available.”