Hostile-Fire Detector System Descends to Earth for Ground Ops

A hostile-fire detection system originally designed for use aboard military blimps is being tested by the Army for mounting on towers.

Manufacturer Logos Technologies of Fairfax, Virginia, successfully tested the system -- called Serenity -- in May in Huntsville, Alabama, Vice President of Business Development Doug Rombough said.

The U.S. Army acquired 15 of the systems last fall for use on blimps, but the company has now provided kits enabling the service to mount them on towers or stand-alone masts, he said. If the Army likes what it finds the company hopes to see the tower-mounted Serenity system make its way to the field in the next several months.

The system uses electro-optical pods and acoustic sensors to measure the distance and location of incoming fire, according to Serenity program manager Frank Plew.

“It finds the range by calculating the flash that the electro optical pods pick up and the bang that the acoustic sensor picks up,” Plew said. When it acquires the range it also gets the bearing of the enemy fire, which reveals the enemy’s exact firing position, he said.

Because of the sensors’ accuracy, he said, not only is the source of fire more accurate but there are fewer false positives of incoming.

The system, which weighs a little less than 80 pounds, was designed to work with the company’s wide-area motion imagery technology to locate enemy firing locations across a city-wide area. As a ground-based system, it could be deployed at forward operating bases.

“Because we know where the flash came from and because we know where the bang should occur (based on the range and bearing), if we don’t get the bang when we expect we know it’s a false alarm, and it doesn’t get presented to the warfighter” as hostile fire, Plew said.

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