by David Crane
defrev at gmail dot com
Well, it looks like gunshot/sniper detection and location systems just got a whole lot smaller and lighter. DefenseReview recently read about a soldier-wearable a.k.a. warfighter-wearable version of the QinetiQ/PSI Ears Gunshot Localization System, called Ears-Man Mounted (Ears-MM a.k.a. Ears-100-MM), which looks interesting. Ears-MM is a compact, lightweight and soldier-wearable acoustic gunshot/sniper detection and localization system that measures in at 3"x3"x0.75", weighs approx. 12 oz (12 ounces), and has a reported battery life of approx. 13 hours.
"Ears", which stands for "Early Attack Reaction System", is currently deployed with the U.S. Army as the Soldier Wearable Acoustic Targeting System (SWATS) in Afghanistan and Iraq. The Ears-100 man-wearable acoustic gunshot detection/localization system utilizes…
direction-finding and micro-DSP (Digital Signal Processing) technologies to enable the user to locate a shooter/sniper by determining the direction and distance of small arms fire from single or multiple weapons, and then audibly and visually cueing the operator/wearer accordingly (providing gunshot/sniper range and bearing relative to the user’s position) via Ears’ operator interface, which is coupled to the miniature acoustic sensor.
Ears’ palm-sized 6.4-ounce miniature single integrated acoustic sensor, itself, weighs 6.4 ounces and can give the wearer the direction and distance of a gunshot in less than a tenth of a second (1/10 seconds). The Ears sniper detection and localization system doesn’t get confused by ambient noise/sounds, and it can localize gunshots in the 360-degree plane, even if the wearer is travelling in a vehicle over 50 mph.
DefenseReview doesn’t yet know the per-unit cost of the Ears anti-sniper/gunshot detection and location/localization system, but assuming Ears-MM and Ears-VM work as advertised and the per-unit cost isn’t too high, it would seem to be a welcome addition to the warfighter’s gear package, particularly for urban warfare operations/applications. U.S. law enforcement agencies might also want to take a look at the technology for law enforcement 1st Responders (i.e. patrol officers) operating in high-risk urban environments. Big-city police departments are already deploying larger and heavier systems like the ShotSpotter Gunshot Detection and Location System, which appear to work pretty well from what Defense Review has read.
There are several configurations of the Ears anti-sniper/acoustic targeting system that are available, including Ears-MM (Man Mounted), Ears-VM (Vehicle Mounted), Ears-FS (Fixed Site), Ears-MC (Mobile Checkpoint), and Ears-UG (Unattended Ground). Ears-VM weighs less than 5 lbs.
Apparently, the Ears-MM wearable sniper/gunshot detection and localization system has already been selected by US Army Natick Soldier Research, Development & Engineering Center (NSRDEC) for integration into Future Force Warrior (FFW) warfighter science and technology initiative/program. "Natick RDEC’s Future Warrior Technology Integration, or FWTI, is interested in concepts that promote notions such as Soldier as a Sensor, leveraging the network age to enhance our Small Combat Unites with real-time situational awareness and Blue Force Tracking," said Bruce Buckland, Project Lead, Soldier Worn Gunfire Detection, NSRDEC. "QinetiQ North America is modifying a limited number of their soldier-worn SWATS gunfire location systems to output sniper location messages that enable Army networks to instantaneously display sniper locations as enemy/red situational awareness throughout the Small Combat Unit. We are looking forward to checking it out during FWTI experiments this summer."
Planning Systems Inc. (PSI), a subsidiary of QinetiQ North America Technology Solutions Group, has apparently already received a NSRDEC contract award for eight (8) Ears-MM units for test and evaluation for FFW.
Company Contact Info:
A. Donald Steinman
Director, Transition Programs
Planning Systems Inc.
(A Subsidiary of QinetiQ North America Technology Solutions Group)
12030 Sunrise Valley Drive
Reston, VA 20191
http://www.plansys.com/ears.cfm Ears Homepage