The Air Force’s Dodge Vapor has radar-absorbing paint, thermal night vision

When it’s not busy dominating the skies, the U.S. Air Force will dabble in incorporating its standout air superiority tech into something more down to earth. It had previously commissioned the “X-1” Mustang, which saw the regular Ford cabin swapped out for a fighter jet cockpit, ejector seat, and flight stick included. Stepping up its own game, in 2009, the Air Force presents the Dodge Vapor: the Challenger you’ll never see coming.

The Vapor is more than simply a murdered out Challenger. According to the Air Force, the matte finish is a radar-absorbing coating, similar to the kind used on the F-117 Nighthawk “stealth fighter.” Furthering the stealth exterior is a set of carbon fiber tire caps, a Mad Max-style grille, and a couple aero elements on the roof to refocus the airflow.

Flipping up the scissor doors gives us access to the cockpit, which keeps its side-by-side layout, unlike the single-seater X-1. Inputs like the steering wheel and gear selector have been replaced with an aircraft yoke and throttle lever.

In place of a traditional dashboard, three LCD monitors that allow access to GPS navigation, internet access, and thermal imaging. Yes, you can essentially drive the Vapor in the cover of darkness with no headlights as the thermal imaging scanner will project whats in its sight on a heads-up display for the driver/pilot. Occupants can also make use of the periscope-like 360-degree night-vision camera affixed to the top of the car.

The technology showcase car was put together by Galpin Auto Sports some six years ago. The Air Force commissioned the customizing garage to build both cars as part of a rolling marketing campaign in an effort to tell young people about the mechanical and technical career opportunities available within the organization.

It’s an interesting exploration of whats possible when someone brings the two worlds of air power and HEMI power together, although we suspect the mighty grunt of the Challenger would give its location away as it rolled up.

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