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April 26, 2007

DARPA Seeks Lasers To Increase Sniper Accuracy x10 And Stop Enemy Snipers Before They Fire

Two different programs. The first may see battlefield use by 2009. To compensate for the effects of wind and "eddies" in the air for long distance shots, DARPA's working on a system to quickly "map the air" and calculate the adjustment needed for a shot:

The first method (to grossly, grossly oversimplify), is to shoot out a series of thousands of laser pulses, creating a "profile" of the "eddies" in the local atmosphere as the light bounces back. The second involves using use a high-speed camera to take an image of the target. The eddies distort the phase of the light in that picture. The scope, through a series of algorithms, can take those into account for the sniper team.

Coming sniper detection systems will send out pulses of laser light (eye-safe, due to treaties against the use of blinding lasers) to "illuminate potential hiding places... and detect retro-reflections from the sniper’s scope." They've even got a cool acryonym -- "BOSS," which stands for Battlefield Optical Surveillance System.

An infrared camera/illuminator uses backscattered infrared (808 nm) illumination to light up an area of interest at distances up to 1 km. Optical augmentation (glint) from an individual's rifle scope/binoculars or even a person's retinas provides a means of detecting that individual.

Here's what that might look like, from a company working on a handheld binocular implementation of the same basic idea:

The system will further be integrated with the "Boomerang" system, which will (hopefully) figure out exactly where a sniper shot came from by triangulating it, basically, based on the slightly different sound signatures of the shot as captured from seven different microphones. Click on the link for more details -- hopefully, the thing will not only give the direction of the sniper, but possibly even his exact GPS coordinates.

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posted by Ace at 12:10 PM

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