Experts say systems that provide vehicles with invisibility against enemy radars may violate the Geneva Convention. And in particular, the First Additional Protocol on the Conflict of Conflict in the Use of Methods and Harmful Measures to the Enemy.
Military laboratories have been working on technology for years to provide complete invisibility to enemy radars, which would greatly increase the effectiveness of the attacks the opponent would not be able to defend. The successes achieved in this field are already considerable and every moment we hear new, revolutionary technologies whose usefulness is increasing.
The problem is that such technologies may violate the Geneva Convention. At least, says Bill Boothby, a lawyer specializing in military law who previously worked as head of legal affairs at the Royal British Air Force. In his view, concealing weapons from the field of vision and masking aircraft may violate universal rules governing armed conflict.
Although masking technologies have existed for years, Boothby believes that new generations such as materials that by absorbing the light surrounding them or cheat radar scanners can make invisible planes or infantry soldiers violate the Convention’s provisions.
According to the lawyer, conventional camouflage, which allows soldiers to melt in the background, is legitimate because it can only be considered a technological advantage in the battlefield. However, modern masking systems that allow soldiers and vehicles to pretend to be no danger may already be a serious problem.
It is also forbidden to mislead an opponent by using unit designations. Battalions engaged in warfare are obliged to carry permanent identification marks visible from afar, and should also carry arms explicitly. These are conditions that invisible systems may violate.
An example of such technology is the active camouflage system developed by the American company BAE Systems, which reads the infrared background of the environment, and then adjusts the vehicle’s temperature to suit it, making it virtually invisible in thermal systems. You can also use it to make the radar signature of the tank modified so that radar reflection will give the image of a civilian vehicle, and this is already breaking the rules of the Geneva Convention on the conduct of war.
Boothby also believes that it is also possible to have full autonomous drones that will themselves conduct warfare and attack the enemy’s targets.