There are several hundred "gunshot detectors" in Iraq, and the
usefulness of these anti-sniper systems has increased as the manufacturers have
decreased the number of false alarms, and improved the user interface. These
devices have come a long way in the last decade, by virtue of major advances in
computing power, sensor quality and software development. Most detectors use
acoustic sensors, and the U.S. Army recently spent another ten million dollars
on additional acoustic gunshot detector systems.
alternative approach, using an infrared sensor, detects the object (bullet)
itself, and eliminates the false alarms. That's because there aren't too many
objects flying around at two or three thousand feet a second that are not
bullets (and definitely are dangerous, no matter what they are.) There are
about twenty of the infrared detectors in use, plus nearly 200 of the older,
systems, no matter what sensor they use, have gotten a lot more user friendly.
They give timely alerts and good information (about where the shooter is) very
quickly. The infrared senor, however, also gives very accurate data on the
caliber of the projectile, information which can also be useful on the
has long been the favorite form of combat, but these gunshot detectors make it
more difficult for the most deadly type of ambush, the sniper, to succeed. Not
every combat unit going on patrol is going to take a gunshot detector with
them. But if troops are going somewhere that is a known hangout for snipers,
than the detector is good to have along. Most of these snipers are amateurs,
and get caught because they do not hide carefully enough, or have a well
thought out escape plan. The gunshot gives the target an edge, and has made
sniping much less popular among Iraqis, than it would otherwise be.