This is an article from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency
("DARPA") website and refers to a joint DOD/Department of Justice effort
to triangulate sniper fire through various means.|
Snipers are extremely
dangerous. Locating and neutralizing them is a need of both the law enforcement
and military communities. The main means of gunfire detection today, i.e.,
the human ear and eye, are highly inaccurate. The JPSG intends to develop
and demonstrate an affordable sniper detection system that can detect and
locate a sniper, to within a 10 foot x 10 foot box, in urban, as well as
rural environments, to ranges in excess of half a mile. Urban environments
are challenging because manmade structures cause echoes, complicating detection
by acoustic means, and hide visual cues, i.e., muzzle flashes. Another major
technical challenge is motion compensation for sniper detection systems mounted
on moving vehicles or worn by soldiers or policemen. While more challenging
technically, mobile systems offer inherently greater flexibility than fixed
This effort is developing systems that can be: 1) carried by and put in place
by hand; 2) worn; and 3) mounted on vehicles. Technologies being explored
employ acoustic, IR, integrated IR-acoustic, and integrated IR-laser sensors.
The picture is of man portable acoustic systems that were demonstrated at
Camp Pendelton, CA, in May, 1996. They are shown at the Pendelton test site.
Six prototypes of the best performing acoustic systems, from the Camp Pendelton
demonstration, will be fabricated and provided to the military, potentially
for use in ongoing operations such as Bosnia.
In July, 1996, a man portable, integrated IR-acoustic system will be demonstrated
at Camp Pendelton. This will be followed in February, 1997, by demonstration
of an integrated IR-laser system. This demonstration will also be at Camp
Pendelton. This system tracks a bullet in flight from the heat caused by
friction as the bullet passes through the air. The bullet's track is used
to determine its three dimensional trajectory. From this information the
system will determine the exact location of the sniper. This system will
locate snipers even whey they employ advanced tactics and special devices
such as silencers and flash suppressers to conceal their location.
Demonstrations of sniper detection systems that are worn and that are mounted
on vehicles are scheduled to be completed by the summer of 1997.
This is from a piece at the DOD/ATCD Counter Sniper page.
the range of emerging sniper detection capabilities available in May 1996,
four were selected as ACTD participants. The four selected systems were perceived
to have already demonstrated some significant capabilities, were part of
funded DoD programs, and required little or no additional engineering to
bring them to a state suitable for fielding. Each of these systems represents
a different technical approach to the problem and each has its strengths
and weaknesses. A brief summary of each is given below.
Compact acoustic shockwave detector: The selected system of this type
is called the Bullet Direction Indicator (BDI). Five units were procured.
The phenomenology exploited is the sound of the shock wave generated by a
supersonic bullet. Typically the bullet must pass near the sensor to be detected.
The system indicates the direction to the shooter with fair accuracy and
has a complete 360 degree field of regard. This system is simple and low
cost. The Army Research Laboratory (ARL) previously purchased these five
units as non developmental items for evaluation in conjunction with the DBBL.
Program Status: This system was evaluated by ARL and found not to
be technically mature enough to deliver to the DBBL for user evaluations.
A number of manufacturing problems were identified and corrected but the
system did not perform well enough to warrant further evaluations. Work on
this system is continuing via a cooperative program between ARL and the U.K.
Ministry of Defense.
Distributed acoustic muzzle blast and shockwave detector: The selected
system of this type is called Bullet Ears. Five units were procured. The
phenomenology exploited is the sound of the gun firing and/or the sound of
the shock wave generated by a supersonic bullet. This sensor system consists
of two sensor elements, separated by a distance ranging from a few meters
up to 100 meters. The system can locate the position of the shooter in three
dimensions and has a complete 360 degree field of regard extending to the
range of the threat weapon. This system is relatively low cost. DARPA provided
this system as the most promising of the ongoing Counter Sniper Program.
Program Status: This system performed well at technical evaluations
at Camp Pendleton in May 1996. Five units were built and tested at the DBBL
in September 1996. Evaluations were favorable and the DBBL currently has
the five units available for deployment. DARPA is continuing development
of this into a helmet mounted system.
Widely distributed acoustic triangulation system: The selected system
of this type is called TAG-IT. One unit was procured. The phenomenology exploited
is the sound of the muzzle blast. Each sensor element consists of a single
microphone and a radio. When a shot is fired, a subset of the sensor elements
detects and identifies the muzzle blast and reports the time of detection
to a central unit via radios. The central display unit shows the location
of the shooter. The accuracy is fair to good. The spacing between sensor
elements is a few hundred meters. The individual sensor elements are low
cost. The TAG-IT system is based on the SECURES (System for the Effective
Control of Urban Environment Security) technology, which was developed by
DARPA for law enforcement applications.
Program Status: Technical evaluations were completed in April and
May 1996 at Camp Pendleton. User evaluations were completed at the DBBL in
May 1996. This system was subsequently deployed during the 1996 Olympic Games,
a portion of which was held at Ft. Benning. Additional tests were also successfully
completed in Dallas Texas in November and December 1996.
IR muzzle flash detector: The selected system of this type is called
Viper. Four units were procured. The phenomenology exploited is the heat
generated in the IR spectrum (3-5 microns) by the gun firing. The accuracy
and detection time is excellent. The sensors have a limited field of regard
(30x22 degrees) but can detect threat weapons beyond the effective range
of the weapon. The system directs an observer to the threat location using
computer generated symbols incorporated in the observer's binoculars. Viper
was developed by the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) as part of an ongoing
6.2 research effort.
Program Status: Technical evaluations of the Viper were completed
in June 1996. Operational tests of four units were completed in August 1996
at Ft. Benning. While the equipment was somewhat bulky, the system performed