Portable ‘bullet detectors’ issued to US troops

US solders are soon to be given individual mini-radar systems capable of detecting incoming gunfire.

More than 13,000 of the devices will be shipped to Afghanistan later this month, officials say. Over the next 12 months, the plan is to get up to 1,500 into the field.

“We’re really trying to ensure that every soldier is protected,” says brigadier general Peter Fuller.

“When you get fired on, instead of trying to figure everything out, you will have technology to assist you in knowing what happened and where the shot was coming from.”

The Individual Gunshot Detector, or IGD, is made by QinetiQ North America. It consists of four small acoustic sensors worn by the individual soldier along with a small display screen attached to body armor that shows the distance and direction of incoming fire.

The sensor detects the supersonic sound waves generated by enemy gunfire and immediately informs the soldier of the location and distance toward the hostile fire. The whole thing weighs less than two pounds.

“The next thing we want to do is try to integrate this capability with other capabilities; for example, we have Land Warrior deployed in Afghanistan and we’re going to have Nett Warrior coming into the force,” says Fuller.

“How about, if you get shot at, not only do I know where that came from, but others know where it came from because I can network that capability. It’s about how to leverage technology to improve your survivability and situational awareness.”