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Military Watch: A high-tech answer to sniper fire

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posted on Oct, 30 2005 @ 11:12 PM
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Posted 10/26/05
By Julian E. Barnes

The arrival of 60 new antisniper systems in Iraq should help U.S. troops track down the source of a small arms attack.

The Boomerang, developed by Massachusetts-based BBN Technologies, uses an array of microphones to track the sound of a bullet's shockwave and pinpoint the location of a shooter. The system was developed with a $5 million research grant from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), a military office, which is championing the system as a technological innovation that could save American lives in Iraq.

Seven microphones mounted on a guard station or a military vehicle, such as a Humvee, instantaneously calculate the backward path of a bullet, then alert the guard or gunner where the bullet was fired from, says Steve Milligan, BBN's chief technologist. "Imagine you are in a vehicle and someone is shooting at you. You want something that shouts 'shooter 2 o'clock,' " he says. "[Boomerang] tells you which way to turn and where to look."

In crowded Iraqi cities, where sound bounces and echoes off buildings, even experienced soldiers can have a hard time locating a shooter. If the Boomerang system lives up to its promise, it would eliminate suchconfusion. The system's backers in the Pentagon say it should also reduce accidental civilian casualties, by giving soldiers more-accurate information about a shooter's location.

DARPA began pushing the program vigorously in the fall of 2003, at a time when small-arms fire was the leading cause of American casualties in Iraq. Today, though, the roadside bomb is the greatest killer, and that is the focus of a variety of different technological initiatives.

Still, insurgent fire, both from poorly trained AK-47 shooters and a few more-highly-trained snipers, remains a threat.

Identifying the source of gunfire through sound has long been possible, but Karen Wood, the Boomerang program manager at DARPA, notes that there were technical problems with existing commercial systems: They did not work well in a moving vehicle, they produced too many false alarms, and they did not always work well in crowded urban areas. Part of the problem was also cost. DARPA wanted to develop an antisniper technology that was cheap enough to install on every humvee driving on the roads of Iraq. BBN has sliced the price to less than $10,000 a unit, Wood says, and the price is likely to drop further. "There were significant technical issues to solve," Wood explains. "And the BBN contractors were very good at solving them."

The military has tested prototypes of the second-generation antisniper technology and is now testing the latest version in Army and Marine units. BBN officials say the latest version is ready for production if they get the green light from the services. The Marines have conducted a test of the DARPA-backed Boomerang and some other commercial systems. Though the final report has not been released, both BBN officials and Woods said the Boomerang system did well against the other off-the-shelf commercial systems and successfully identified the location of snipers. Wood said with the deployment of the latest batch of boomerangs, DARPA's role is finished. "We've solved the technical challenges," she said. "Now it is up to the Army."

And the Pentagon's bureaucracy. Typically, the military's "procurement process" is not set up to quickly purchase and deploy new technology, says Tad Elmer, BBN's chief executive officer. But BBN officials hope the field-testing creates a grassroots demand that the Pentagoncannot resist.

From

Hope it has not been posted yet.




posted on Oct, 31 2005 @ 07:43 AM
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Ok, it located the direction the fire is coming from. But it can;t track the sniper.

Good Snipers fire and move away from his hiding place.

Really can;t see the real advantage of this system in place.



posted on Oct, 31 2005 @ 08:43 AM
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Originally posted by Humster
Ok, it located the direction the fire is coming from. But it can;t track the sniper.

Good Snipers fire and move away from his hiding place.

Really can;t see the real advantage of this system in place.


HUH?

This thing isnt sending a First Class stamped letter to inform they were fired at, it instantly tells them where the shots came from. They can have guns and eyes on the target location in a few seconds, opposed to minutes, or never, without this system.

That sniper could have a doazen barrels pointed at him just a moment after he pulled the trigger, standing up to move may be the LAST thing he wants to do. And this sytem makes that possible.

I dont mean this as an insult, but you clearly have no idea how valuable of a system this is and the challenge snipers face agaisnt it.





[edit on 31-10-2005 by skippytjc]



posted on Oct, 31 2005 @ 10:05 AM
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Doesn't Israel have a similar system allready?
or at least a system that detects heavier fire acoustically...



posted on Oct, 31 2005 @ 10:30 AM
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Originally posted by northwolf
Doesn't Israel have a similar system allready?
or at least a system that detects heavier fire acoustically...


The tech isnt new, its been around for a few years, but this article seems to be speaking about design improvements that make it practicle and more importantly: Desired by the military, after all, they never deployed it before now, so they must have made some steep improvements in the tech.

They have one in theatre already that does this with mortars and artillery already thats working amazingly well, I wonder if that had anything to do with this?



posted on Oct, 31 2005 @ 12:02 PM
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Check out this site:

Boomerang

There is a good Quicktime movie that provides a brief overview and history of the system....



posted on Oct, 31 2005 @ 09:11 PM
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I wonder if in the future they will connect this piece of kit up to a machine gun. Bye, Bye Mr. Sniper



posted on Nov, 1 2005 @ 04:39 AM
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Originally posted by skippytjc

This thing isnt sending a First Class stamped letter to inform they were fired at, it instantly tells them where the shots came from. They can have guns and eyes on the target location in a few seconds, opposed to minutes, or never, without this system.


Ok, I fired a gun, you know where the fire is coming from. But does it tell you, that I fired the gun?



That sniper could have a doazen barrels pointed at him just a moment after he pulled the trigger, standing up to move may be the LAST thing he wants to do. And this sytem makes that possible.


We are talking about Iraq here, Urban Warfare is used by *insert name depending on which side you support*.

For example. I fire my *insert brand of sniper rifle or any rifle here* from a 8 storey apartment building with an average of 40 households living on each side. Each unit have at least 2 windows. That make a total of 80 windows that I can poke my rifle through. I open fire, you got the message that says the direction the fire is from. But do you know which window?

You can point your weapons at the general direction of the fire. But do you have a target to strike back?


I dont mean this as an insult, but you clearly have no idea how valuable of a system this is and the challenge snipers face agaisnt it.
[edit on 31-10-2005 by skippytjc]


Its ok, you have your point of view and I have mine.

This is mine POV.

As long as it cannot pinpoint, track and target the Sniper, it would be rather useless. Imagine pointing at the general direction and see tens of civilian vehicals and hundreds of people running around. You have the coolest equipment that tells you where I'm firing from but can't track me amiss the crowd.

Psychological effects, yes, the sniper will think about firing his weapon.
Yes, the ground troops have more of a peace of mind that theres such a equipment with them.

But look at it this way. Think about the disadvantage the ground troops may be placed against.

1) Sniper fired, 1 person down
It happened. 1 guy down.



posted on Nov, 1 2005 @ 04:54 AM
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hunster read the links...you'd see:

to track the sound of a bullet's shockwave and pinpoint the location of a shooter

and successfully identified the location of snipers

shooter localization to plus or minus 15 degree accuracy and within one second of the shot
Reliability for shot miss distances of one to 30 meters
Ability to detect and localize fire from AK-47s and other small arms at ranges from 50 to 150 meters


[edit on 1-11-2005 by namehere]

[edit on 1-11-2005 by namehere]



posted on Nov, 1 2005 @ 04:59 AM
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Originally posted by namehere
hunster read the links...you'd see:

shooter localization to plus or minus 15 degree accuracy and within one second of the shot
Reliability for shot miss distances of one to 30 meters
Ability to detect and localize fire from AK-47s and other small arms at ranges from 50 to 150 meters


[edit on 1-11-2005 by namehere]


How localize? That what we need to know. Does it does tracking?

Edited because of the pinpoint word.

Does it track? How long does it take? 1 sec is more then enough for someone to start retreating.

[edit on 1-11-2005 by Humster]



posted on Nov, 1 2005 @ 07:37 AM
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Humster, I really don’t think you understand this at all.

Imagine NOT using it. OK? A sniper fires at one of your team, just one shot. YOu have ZERO idea where it came from. You start FRANTICALY looking about to figure it out. Then a second shot, another Marine down. Now you may or may not have an idea where it came from. You start pointing barrels in the direction your have GUESSED it came from. Then what? Well, this is how they are doing it today.

Now imagine this system. One shot. Within a second a device is telling you within a degree or two EXACTLY the direction the shot came from. You yell "get down" and hide behind something relative to the direction of the fire came from. Your medic can help the fallen soldier behind something and know that they are safe due to their knowledge of where the shooter is. Also: No more targets for the shooter, no second man down. AT the same time you motion for half your squad to start heading towards the source of the fire. All this within a few seconds. They can RULE OUT 99% of other people and simply focus on the people in the field around the shooters area.

If you cant understand the value of a system like this, I really hope you aren’t an engineer or a designer of equipment of any kind...



posted on Nov, 1 2005 @ 07:42 AM
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Doesn't sound ideal, but it sounds like a good start.

I can imagine it could get annoying fast though once return fire starts.



posted on Nov, 1 2005 @ 09:18 AM
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Originally posted by skippytjc
.......Imagine NOT using it. OK? A sniper fires at one of your team, just one shot. YOu have ZERO idea where it came from. You start FRANTICALY looking about to figure it out. Then a second shot, another Marine down. Now you may or may not have an idea where it came from. You start pointing barrels in the direction your have GUESSED it came from. Then what? Well, this is how they are doing it today.


Point taken. Totally missed it by 5miles.



If you cant understand the value of a system like this, I really hope you aren’t an engineer or a designer of equipment of any kind...


Uh..no I'm not an engineer, but did studied to be an Electrical Eng. Although I did pass to be one( spent like 2 years longer then a usual student) Kinda wished I never started (-_-;;.

[edit on 1-11-2005 by Humster]



posted on Nov, 4 2008 @ 11:36 AM
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posted on Nov, 5 2008 @ 05:41 AM
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One flaw in this system, subsonic munnions....

The Vintorez Russian Spetnaz rifle probably would defeat this system... it's suppressed and it's round the SP-6 is subsonic armor piercing



posted on Nov, 6 2008 @ 04:42 PM
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I went to the local AUSA show recently where this technology was presented. Unfortunately, it does little to no good to locate real snipers. It's effective range is only about a quarter of a mile...most snipers would never get that close. This system also must be within 80 or so feet of the bullet path to accurately determine direction/distance. It really is a little bit elementary at the moment; the output is a lame voice which gives direction (ie 2 o'clock) and distance (once again, up to 1/4 mile).



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