Weapons Systems

ARL explores dual-sensor gunfire detection, location

Looking to help soldiers identify the source of gunfire and explosions, the Army Research Lab is looking to improve locator technology by combining visual and audio detection.

ARL recently awarded a $9.7 million contract to Logos Technologies to develop and deploy technology that would provide increased surveillance for the detection of hostile gunfire, as well as improved forensic capabilities.

The company will develop the Serenity system, which utilizes a dual-threat validation technique using both visual and audio recognition to identify the source of hostile fire, according to a Logos release.

The Serenity system comprises separate audio and visual sensor technologies.

Logos’ Optical Gunfire, Rockets and Explosive Flash Detection, or OGRE, system will provide the visual validation of the Serenity system. OGRE uses high-speed cameras to capture the visual signature of gunfire or detonation and provides coordinates for the origin of attack. OGRE is combined with an existing acoustic sensor that was developed by the Army’s Aviation and Missile Research, Development and Engineering Center.

The Serenity system will be integrated with the company’s Kestrel sensor system, which is designed to be installed on aerostats, or tethered airships and balloons, for continuous 360 degree surveillance. The sensor system also works in parallel with a full motion video sensor that can provide forensic DVR playback capabilities.

The Serenity system can also work as a stand-alone system, say company officials. The lightweight design could additionally allow the system to be installed on unmanned and manned fixed-wing platforms that could then provide support to ground troops.

Most current gunfire locators primarily depend on acoustic detection to locate shooters. For instance, the Boomerang anti-sniper detection system, developed by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and BBN Technologies, uses a series of microphones to pick up both the muzzle blast and the shockwave of a supersonic bullet. Using advanced algorithms, the system then provides the direction and elevation of the shooter.

The addition of visual detection technology would allow Serenity to detect flash events such as mortar and rocket launches and increase overall accuracy.

“The integration of visual and acoustic technology dramatically increases the detection range and accuracy in comparison to existing systems,” Logos said. “OGRE's enhanced wide-area capability provides forces with real-time operational intelligence, allowing them to respond quickly.”

About the Author

Joey Cheng is an editorial fellow with Defense Systems.

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