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What's Next in National Security

Archived from Wired.com

(Read also - " Hightech Gear for the Dismounted Warfighter".)

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Your Own Personal Sniper Detector
By Noah Shachtman
November 5, 2007 9:20 am

 

The Pentagon wants $1.4 billion for sniper-fighting gear — including a whole bunch of next-generation shooter-detectors.

The current crop of gunshot locators are attached to Humvees , or to light poles. New models could be small enough to carry around in a pocket, and powerful enough to fit onto a spy drone.

One candidate, according to Defense News, is the Ears 100, one of several acoustic sensors that "detects the sound of a gunshot, the shock wave of a bullet and the blast from the muzzle, then runs the data through two computers to pinpoint the shooter’s position."

But the Ears 100 is small. It "comes in a 6-inch, 5-pound variant for vehicles, a 1-pound version that clips onto a soldier’s uniform and a 5-pound ground-mounted version." There’s also a "2.2-pound personal-data-assistant-sized version" in the works.

The Pentagon is also looking at putting sniper detectors in the sky.

In February, the Army finalized a $20 million deal to equip some UAVs with Radiance Technologies’ WeaponWatch, allowing them to locate the source of incoming rockets, rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs) and small-arms fire.

First deployed in 2004, five are in Iraq and five in Afghanistan, with five more on the way…

To date, the system has had very successful airborne tests on UH-60 Black Hawk, UH-1 Huey, C-21 and the Boeing unmanned Little Bird.

The 27-pound, less-than-1-cubic-foot WeaponWatch carries an infrared sensor to pick up the heat from a launch tube or gun.

“We have a unique system that is able to measure this and tell the class of weapon, from a .50-caliber machine gun to small-arms fire to an RPG,” Clark said.

The system can detect and classify the weapon from farther than the range of the round, he said. The sensor sends its information to a small laptop display that points to the shooter’s location.

WeaponWatch is part of a larger Army R&D program into sniper-detection, called OverWatch. Here’s a video overview.

   

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