No Chance for Snipers
Snipers are a major problem for the German Armed Forces and its allies on international peace missions. In urban areas or, occasionally, even out in the open, ambushes by attackers are a constant threat. They fire upon soldiers before escaping undetected. In the future, such attackers will not get to fire more than one shot. As soon as they fire their weapons, the hidden snipers will be located by the innovative Acoustic Shooter Locating System (ASLS).
The compact Shooter Locating System consists of a powerful acoustic sensor with integrated analysis electronics and a compact control and display unit. The sensor, designed for 360-degree coverage, has eight specialized microphones that measure the acoustic fingerprint of discharged weapons. “A shot inevitably involves two distinctive acoustic events,” says Andreas Jung, senior sales engineer at Rheinmetall Defence Electronics, explaining the principle of the system’s location method. “As soon as the projectile leaves the barrel, there is a muzzle blast. And as soon as the projectile breaks the sound barrier, it creates a sonic crack. Both sound waves are registered by the microphones.” The system then raises the alarm, both acoustically and visually. It also calculates precise azimuth, elevation and range and shows the results of its shooter locating calculations on the control and display unit or forwards them to existing systems. The results can also be displayed in C4I systems, for example.
When searching for threats, soldiers and vehicle crews equipped with an ASLS no longer need rely on their own eyes and ears alone. In any case, the capabilities of the ASLS make it far superior to human hearing. It can detect frequencies that lie beyond the range audible to human ears. Even very brief events are reliably registered in a matter of milliseconds. Furthermore, the ASLS features integrated position sensors and a GPS sensor that can determine the precise location of an attacker even while in motion. The ASLS features a very compact design – the entire system is very light, weighing under 5 kg, and gets by on less than two watts of power. This means that the system can be operated independently of the vehicle and even in mobile configuration for extended periods. The results of the analysis can be transferred to the control and display unit both wirelessly and by cable.
High growth potential leaves room for any number of uses and system options. In addition, quick-mounting points mean that it is no longer essential to have a vehicle-specific installation kit. It takes less than 15 minutes to fit the system even in small vehicles. A compact and portable component reminiscent of a smartphone is used for the control and display unit. The low installation height of the system on vehicles means that there is virtually no effect on the aiming angle of a weapons station in terms of azimuth and elevation.
The need for simple and effective operation is particularly high in critical situations. Support is provided in this respect by the direct connection to systems already fitted. Target information from the ASLS can be displayed immediately in the form of a symbol, for example, on an integrated control and display unit and transmitted directly to an electro-optical sensor such as the Situational Awareness System (SAS) or a weapons system for instantly verifying and / or engaging objects.
Troops in the field have even better protection for life and limb as a result, as an immediate reaction is called for any time an ASLS alarm is sounded.