Understanding IR Technology

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Infrared ID Patches

IR Patch Dangers to Consider

Why take this lesson?

Do you wear an infrared patch for friendly fire protection?

Beware! Not all infrared patches are built the same. Unknowingly, you could be putting yourself and others in danger.

Even if the packaging says, “provides IFF protection,” do some homework to uncover the quality of your IR patch.

The 3 Questions we will cover in this lesson: 

  1. Does your patch resist white light reflection?
  2. Does your patch glow up to 700m?
  3. Does debris or water seep in?
IFF IR Reflective US Flag patches

Understanding how an infrared patch works 

First, let’s review how an IR patch works.

Simplified, an infrared patch reflects light off of reflective material.

A reflective material you are most familiar with is a bike reflector. A bike reflector reflects or bounces the light back to the original light source, usually a car passing by.  The driver sees the light reflect off the bike reflector and avoids hitting the biker.

Your IR patch works much the same way, by reflecting the light back to the light source.  In the case of an IR patch, the light originates from two sources: an IR illuminator or white light. The light reflects off the IR patch and alerts a friendly.

1. Does your patch resist white light reflection?

There are 2 types of IR reflective patches – Covert (battlefield) and Non-covert (garrison).

The danger arises when a covert IFF patch reflects white light. Because it should not.  Your IR patch is only covert if it reflects infrared energy from your IR illuminator.  

A covert IFF patch should not reflect white light!

Both your covert and non-covert IFF patches are built with the same reflective material. The “covert coating” over the material is what makes the difference. 

While you may think your covert patch will protect you against white light detection, it may not.

Therefore, we recommend testing your IR patches against any white light reflection. Take it into the dark and shine a flashlight on it. If the patch reflects the light, understand this patch will not keep you hidden. 

2. Does your patch glow up to 700m?

Another potential danger is a low glow radius from your patch.

If the glow on the patch is dull and can’t be seen at a distance of 700m (with PVS-14) you are at risk.

Be sure to double-check the glow radius on your IR patch with a Night Vision device before deployment.

3. Does water or debris seep into your patch?

One of the biggest complaints we hear on a regular basis is how deployed patches fall apart from water and debris seeping into the patch. After a few months, the layers fall apart. 

A patch that falls apart at the seams fails to protect against friendly fire. 

How does this happen?

This problem stems from manufacturers who take cost-cutting steps in raw materials.  Also, little to no testing is done before distribution.

In addition, the covert layer glow and durability are not held to a quality standard of performance.

Your SandStorm Technology™ Solution   

After much research and testing, we build a proprietary process called SandStorm Technology™ on all of our reflective infrared patches. 

This unique manufacturing process blends perfectly formed micro-prisms on one seamless layer. This layer can’t physically fall apart at the seams because no seams exist.

So even the fiercest sandstorm or rainstorm will not damage your patch.

Each patch has over 100K fitted micro-prisms providing maximum glow with no air gaps. This nearly indestructible brightness allows you to serve with confidence.

SandStorm Technology™ protects your patch against:

  • White light reflection
  • Low infrared glow
  • A weak, damaged patch

Avoid danger because of a failed IFF patch and test your patch for safety and durability.