SWATS: A QinetiQ Technology Triumph

Gunshot localization systems have been in use for several decades by both the military and law enforcement. Their purpose is to detect the origin of hostile gunshots and instantaneously provide a vector (directional line of fire) and range to the incoming hostile fire from the detector’s position. This targeting information allows immediate defensive return fire on target to either suppress or destroy the hostile’s firing position.

Historically, most gunshot localization systems have been either hard-mounted on buildings or vehicles, and they have enjoyed varying degrees of success depending upon the level of system sophistication being used. Like everything else, not all gunshot localization systems are created equal. However, there is one that bubbles to the top in all categories of sophistication that include innovation, portability, reliability, maintainability and interoperability.

In response to a U.S. military requirement for an individual (soldier-worn) gunshot detection system (IDGS), QinetiQ North America (QNA), headquartered in Waltham, MA, has developed a Shoulder-Worn Acoustic Targeting System they call SWATS®. With the goal of increasing soldier survivability, SWATS instantly detects, locates and alerts its wearer to the location and range of incoming (hostile) fire. The SWATS system also has a built-in compass, GPS and 9-axis inertial measurement system that compensate for body motion and enable its wearer to effectively navigate on the battlefield. SWATS works reliably in all combat environments to include mountainous, urban and open terrain.

How Does SWATS Work?

The SWATS system is a self-contained, shoulder-worn, gunshot localization system composed of an array of omni-directional microphones and a custom-built processing computer that detects both the muzzle report sound wave of a fired shot as well as the pressure wave from the incoming round itself as it zips by. Using sophisticated (and proprietary) algorithms, it computes the differentials between the two pressure waves and instantaneously calculates (less than .25 of a …read more

Read more here:: Small Arms Defense Journal (Land)

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