Thermal Cloak Seen for M16, M27, Other Automatic Weapons

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Extraordinarily Thin Insulon Shaped-Vacuum Thermal Barrier Offers Designers a New Way to Handle Heat

The Insulon® Thermal Cloak™ heat barrier from Concept Group is now being considered as a potential solution for several heat challenges found in automatic weapons such as the M16, M4, M27, M249, M240, the commercial AR-15, and numerous others. Future applications include thermal cloaking for suppressors and automatic cannon.

The reason for the interest is twofold: size and effectiveness. Concept Group’s Insulon thermal cloaking technology creates a shaped-vacuum heat barrier that is amazingly thin – actually thinner than a human hair – yet it can completely stop the convection of heat, cloaking the weapon with a virtually impenetrable thermal shield.

The same Insulon technology can also provide both protection for the weapons’ integral electronics and ergonomic benefits, in addition to its ability to cloak heat emissions from tubes, forends, and barrel assemblies.

According to Aarne Reid, President and CEO of Concept Group and the inventor of the technology, the extraordinary heat-stopping ability of an Insulon thermal barrier can improve automatic-weapon design in several ways.

For example,” explained Reid, “heat sensing devices are becoming more and more capable on the battlefield. The residual heat from firing, built up in the metal of the barrel and elsewhere on the weapon, can now be detected nearly as easily as the muzzle flash itself.” According to Reid, “an Insulon Thermal Cloak heat barrier can provide a virtually impenetrable heat shield to hide these thermally bright parts of the weapon. It defeats thermal detectors with an extraordinarily thin shaped vacuum.”

Reid noted that heat, which is the agitated movement of molecules, simply cannot travel through the Insulon vacuum. “No molecules,” he said, “no convection. An Insulon Thermal Cloak heat barrier simply stops heat cold, making it virtually undetectable by an enemy’s heat-sensing devices.”

The same Insulon technology can also be used to protect the operator from hot parts of the weapon. “The return gas tubes and barrels in automatic weapons like the M249 or M240 – and of course, the M16 and M4 – can get very hot, hot enough to harm the operator,” said Reid. “By adding an Insulon thermal barrier to the design, that operator risk can now be eliminated.”

Reid explained that the benefits of Insulon technology go beyond thermally cloaking the weapon and protecting the operator from burning hot forends. He especially noted that a wide variety of battlefield weaponry now contains electronics for sensing, control, and other critical functions. Reid, who was assisted in identifying Insulon weapons applications by National Small Arms Technology Consortium researcher Howard Kent, pointed out that “electronic performance can be very sensitive to temperature variation, and that can be a big problem in a firefight. Insulon technology lets you put a hair-thin, shaped-vacuum thermal barrier exactly where it’s needed to completely protect your electronics from the heat of firing the weapon. It’s incredibly compact, yet gives you virtually impenetrable thermal insulation just about anywhere you want it.

The Insulon shaped-vacuum thermal barrier is available today. It can be designed in virtually any size and shape. Designers should contact Concept Group for further information, at 800-424-7325.

Concept Group, Inc. ( is an AS9100C-certified developer and manufacturer of advanced technology hermetic seals, vacuum-insulated products, and precision assemblies. Its products can be found in the skies on commercial and military aircraft, in spacecraft circling the globe, in the human body during cryoablation surgery, and even deep underground in oil/gas exploration.

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