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EARS – QinetiQ’s Battle-Proven Sniper Detection Solution


Designed for both mounted and dismounted infantry, QinetiQ’s miniature, low-profile acoustic Ears family of wearable, sniper detection and gunshot localisation solutions is based on a miniature single integrated acoustic sensor.

The palm-sized, 6.4-ounce sensor can be coupled with an individual operators’ interface or used in vehicles and at fixed locations. It responds with the direction and distance in less than a tenth of a second from the first gunshot being fired, without being confused by surrounding sounds, to accurately locate snipers in a 360o view, even when in use on a vehicle moving at speeds over 50mph.

The Ears solution was develop by a QinetiQ North America subsidiary and is known to the US Army as the Soldier Wearable Acoustic Targeting System (SWATS). Ears has already been selected by the US Army Natick Soldier Research, Development & Engineering Center (NSRDEC) to integrate the warfighter-wearable member of the Ears sniper detection family into Future Force Warrior (FFW). FFW is the Army’s flagship Science and Technology initiative to develop and demonstrate revolutionary capabilities for Future Force Soldier systems. The entire Ears product family makes use of this unique sensor, which is currently combat-deployed with the Army in Afghanistan and Iraq.

During the Autumn of 2007, US Army field tests proved the effectiveness of the Ears solution in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. The US Army’s positive evaluation of Ears’ in-theatre performance – which proved the advantages of Ears’ vastly reduced size, weight, and power requirements – led to this award by NSRDEC.

“Natick RDEC’s Future Warrior Technology Integration, or FWTI, is interested in concepts that promote notions such as Soldier as a Sensor, leveraging the network age to enhance our Small Combat Unites with real-time situational awareness and Blue Force Tracking,” said Bruce Buckland, Project Lead, Soldier Worn Gunfire Detection, NSRDEC. “QinetiQ North America is modifying a limited number of their soldier-worn SWATS gunfire location systems to output sniper location messages that enable Army networks to instantaneously display sniper locations as enemy/red situational awareness throughout the Small Combat Unit. We are looking forward to checking it out during FWTI experiments this summer.”

The NSRDEC contract award is for eight Ears SWATS systems for integration into Future Force Warrior. Engineering integration support is a part of this award, in order to assist NSRDC in their goals.


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