Shoulder Worn Acoustic Targeting Systems (SWATS) – QinetiQ

Snipers have earned their place in military history as one of the most effective weapon systems ever deployed. During World War II, Russian, snaiperskaya, wreaked havoc on advancing German troops. A single sniper team can successfully pin down a company, and they have a devastating effect on an opposing force’s moral. Snipers are, by far, more surgical than a Hellfire missile. For these reasons, there’s been a considerable amount of research and development done to advance and deploy shooter detection systems. One such system, the Shoulder Worn Acoustic Targeting Systems (SWATS) developed by QinetiQ is currently fielded in Iraq and Afghanistan.

SWATS functions very much like SONAR in that an array of microphones measures time differences between shock wave and muzzle blasts to ascertain the general location of a shooter or sniper. The QinetiQ video is an excellent overview of SWATS.

What remains a question in my mind is how well the system performs in urban settings where sound can be amplified or diffused by surrounding structures or how effectively the system works against suppressed weapon systems.

I’d like to give it a try and I’ve added testing it as a task, given QinetiQ’s willingness and my ability. However, if it saves just one life then it has met its objective, and that’s a great thing.

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