Unfortunately, for the army, that's not possible, according to Martin Wegener, of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in Germany.
"Complete invisibility of macroscopic objects for all visible colors is fundamentally impossible," Martin told the New Scientist.
So the army will have to settle for “stealth fabrics.” It has requested all the companies manufacturing such materials to get in touch and is hoping to test the first prototypes within 18 months.
One option is "metamaterials," which are highly adaptive and uniquely structured at the microscopic level. First demonstrated in 2006, metamaterials can bend light around the wearer, essentially making them "invisible" from certain angles.
At worst, it is looking for something that can make soldiers "shadowless" in certain wavelengths – and is turning to lab-created materials for the solution.
According to the army's specifications, the uniforms must work in all temperatures, weather conditions and terrains – preferably without a power supply – while still being integrated with the rest of a soldier's equipment.
Some firms claim they already have the technology, including Canadian camouflage manufacturer Hyperstealth Biotechnology. CEO Guy Cramer said he demonstrated metamaterial camouflage to US military scientists last year, and that the new project will allow him to move forward with it.
But Hyperstealth is being coy about the material, so far not releasing details about the technology behind it.
"What's the holdup on our Quantum Stealth (Light Bending material)?" the firm wrote. "The US military needed to put in place the requirement, without that requirement we were not allowed to work with them."
Contractors will demonstrate the feasibility of their approach in the first six months of the program. Those selected for the following one-year phase will submit ten prototype uniforms for testing.