Purpose of Louvered panels on coalition vehicles?

I have noticed on the news broadcasts, that many (possibly all) coalition vehicles have louvered panels on their sides. Some panels are white; others seem to be camouflaged. Are these panels some sort of identification?

they are applique (sp?) armor. The armor is dismountable, to reduce weight & increase fuel milage in peacetime. It’s only added in shooting situations.

The purpose of louvers are to allow heat to escape.

Ted Koppel said that the panels were an identification mechanism to prevent friendly fire incidents – something about the heat pattern they create is very conspicuous to U.S. & allied targeting sensors.


Cliffy: do you have a link to that?

I don’t have a cite, but I can say that I heard the same information as Cliffy. It makes sense and seems too specific for it to just be Koppel’s speculation.

Well, it does make sense to me, if only because it confirms my preconceptions. That may also be why they are generally white.

No, I don’t have a cite. I saw it on ABC’s coverage, I think on Thursday night. Koppel is embedded and while talking with (IIRC) Peter Jennings he made note of the panels and explained their function. He also noted that on tanks and Bradleys the panels are on the sides, but on some smaller vehicles they’re smaller and on the rear just above the brake lights. The panels in question aren’t really louvered in the sense that they open and close like venitian blinds – instead, they are solid and fixed in a sort of ridged or corrugated pattern. (Maybe the OP and I are talking about two different things.)


I saw the same Ted Koppel report, and was bewildered by all the questions it left unanswered. I got the impression that they’re some kind of Identify Friend or Foe (IFF) system, but then they don’t really look like antennas. I put in a mental placeholder that maybe they have some kind of characteristic radar signature, because the longer part of the “corrugation” is angled up about where you’d expect a helicopter gunship to be looking at you from. But I sure would like to know.

Are they all corregated? or containing 90 deg angles?

The hot/cold pattern is readily visible through night vision sights. They are mounted on the front, sides and back of our vehicles so that our soldiers don’t kill each other. Trying to identify something through night vision is not especially easy, these make it easier. They are purely passive, however.