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USAF Wants Gunfire Sensor for Drones
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U.S. Air Force Wants Gunfire Sensor for Reaper Drones

November 28th, 2011Via: Wired:
Opening fire on American troops could mean an instant death sentence for insurgents, if an ambitious new Air Force plan works out. The flying branch has asked industry to develop a new heat and motion sensor capable of detecting enemy gunfire from 25,000 feet over the battlefield and then swiftly directing a bomb or missile onto the shooter.
Installed on the Air Force's existing fleet of Reaper drones, the gunfire-detection system would make attacking U.S. troops a highly risky proposition. The Air Force wants to link the fire-detector with other Wide Field-of-View (WFOV) sensors like the Gorgon Stare, which uses a bundle of cameras to watch over miles at a time. The sensors entered service on Reapers this year. "The goal of this effort is to provide an event (enemy and friendly weapons fire) detection system that can provide real-time notification that can be overlaid on WFOV motion imagery by sensor operators," the Air Force solicitation reads.
Gunfire-detection systems already exist though previous versions were acoustic instead of heat- and motion-based. Combining aerial shot-detection with full-motion video poses huge technological challenges. The sensor must be able to tell the difference between a gunshot and, say, a campfire and between good guys and bad. "The determination of military utility of a hostile-fire sensor will be heavily dependent on its capacity to distinguish between friendly and hostile fire in order to avoid fratricide," the solicitation cautions.
Posted in Surveillance, Technology, War
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