Snipers have long been one of the more dreaded foes in combat. Now there is a “sniper detector” system arriving in Iraq that is cheap and portable enough that it might make a difference. The Boomerang system consists of a small sensor that is mounted on an aluminum pole rigged to the back of a hummer or truck. A wire runs from the pole to a PDA size display mounted on the dashboard or windshield. If anyone fires a rifle nearby, the sensor picks up the shockwaves and soundwaves and instantly calculates the distance and direction of the fire. The display also has a speaker, which barks out a warning message along the lines of “incoming, seven o’clock” (which is standard military lingo indicating direction of enemy fire.) The display then shows the location of the fire relative to the vehicle.
There’s an old Army adage that if you can see it you can hit it, and if you can hit it you can kill it. Now we just need little sensors that can hear it.