UPDATED UPDATE: Courtesy of our good friends at Soldier Systems, it looks as if PEO has indeed fielded 1100 individual shot detection systems -- but not the BBN one.
Oddly enough, despite funding the development of Boomerang Warrior, the Army seems to be much keener on the QinetiQ North America’s Soldier Wearable Acoustic Targeting System (SWATS). In fact, photos of the IGD system on PEO-Soldier’s website feature a Soldier wearing SWATS. Army G3 directed PEO-Soldier to execute a field evaluation of an Individual Gunfire Detection system and the system chosen was the SWATS. The Capabilities Production Document (CPD) is still in draft and any use at this point should be considered an operational demonstration to ascertain the validity of the technology and to consider Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures development. Based on candidate technical maturity, Product Manager Soldier Sensors and Lasers deployed 12 Soldier SWATS to theater in 2007 for the first user evaluation. This evaluation prompted several changes to the design and functionality. In 2008, 1100 improved SWATS were sent to theater for a second user evaluation. The information gathered during these evaluations is being used in the development of the IGD CPD.PEO Soldier is developing a nifty little device that gives individual Soldiers the ability to pinpoint the source of incoming rifle fire.
The so-called Individual Gunshot Detection system clips onto a Soldier's body armor and uses sensors to hear the "crack-bang" of a shot, then processes the data in miliseconds to indicate the cardinal direction of the fire's source and approximate distance.
The single sensor system (SWATS, Boomerang Warrior) reports this solution directly to the individual Soldier on a visual display and audio alert within a second of a muzzle blast. The technology is able to detect and provide alert data for variants of both 5.56mm and 7.62mm sized ammo. The system is powered by two DL 123 batteries.I'm still working on details about how many are to be fielded, to whom and what the cost is, but I will say that I had the opportunity a couple years ago to see a demo of a bunch of these devices in development for vehicles. The one being developed for PEO is manufactured by BBN Technologies of Boston -- they're the ones who make the Boomerang vehicle-mounted system which I found was the simplest system to operate and the most "Soldier Proof" of the others, some of which delivered much more refined information.
Incoming shot announcements are transmitted to an ear piece while a light-weight wrist display provides range, azimuth and elevation coordinates of the shooter position. As the Soldier moves, the system compensates for the Soldier's motion and continually updates the threat's location on the wrist display. A digital interface is also included to enable immediate transmittal of shot coordinates to other situational displays.This system seems like a good idea for Afghanistan, given the terrain and cover afforded ambushing insurgents. Put a couple guys in a squad at strategic positions with these things and you could zero in on the bad guys in no time.
This might also be something that Land Warrior might want to look at...
UPDATE: Our friends over at Soldier Systems tell us that PEO sent only one of the IGD systems from BBN to theater and that despite paying for the development of the Boomerang Warrior "PEO is going in a different direction."-- Christian
Still no word from PEO Soldier on this...