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There are several optical technologies that locate sources of small-arms-fire, but these systems rely on muzzle flash, making them ineffective against weapons with flash suppressors, when the shooter is behind a wall or sniping from inside a building. Moreover, these systems cannot determine the trajectory of the projectile, and are susceptible to optical clutter.


This technology provides algorithms that accurately localize small-arm-fire by tracking bullets from high-powered weapons, automatic rifles, rocket propelled grenades (RPGs), mortars, and similar projectiles. The software integrates commercially available infrared video cameras, processes raw imagery data, detects and tracks projectiles, and determines the location of the shooters within error bounds. The technique and algorithms have been shown to be resistant to optical clutter.

  • Does not rely on muzzle flash > Can track bullets from weapons with flash suppressors > More useful than traditional small-arms-fire localization
  • Adaptable to environments with high optical clutter > Reduces false alarm locations > More accurate shooter locator, very low false alarm rate
  • Detects and tracks projectiles in-flight > Detects and localizes multiple shooters > Rapid data analysis for immediate offensive action
  • Uses off-the-shelf components > Lower manufacturing costs


Potential Applications

Small-arms-fire detection and source localization have many applications in the urban battlespace:

  • Situation awareness and battlespace management in urban combat operations
  • Threat localization for helicopter self-protection
  • Sniper neutralization for law enforcement agencies and protective services


Development Status
  • Basic LifeGuard technology developed during the 1990s with IR&D funds.
  • DARPA sponsored 2005 experiments extended range to 400 m and robust performance against optical clutter.
  • Portfolio of U.S. patents.


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