May 26, 2010

DARPA Sniper Upgrades Start in 2011

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Wired Danger Room reports that DARPA will have new laser sniper scopes in field trials in 2011.

Darpa, the Pentagon’s way-out research arm, is hoping to use lasers and advanced optical systems to make other snipers Harrison-accurate (world record sniper record holder had three accurate 1.54 mile shots in a row, even when the winds are howling. The agency is looking for 15 ultraprecise sniper scopes to put in shooters’ hands by next year.

The “One Shot” program originally aimed to give snipers the power to hit a target from 2000 meters away in winds as high as 40 miles per hour. In the first phases of the 3-year-old program, shooters used prototype rifles dressed with lasers and fancy computer hardware to do damage from 1,100 meters away in 18-mile-an-hour winds. The scope-mounted lasers can “see” wind turbulence in the path of the bullet and feed the data to computers, enabling real-time calculation of — and compensation for — the wind-blown trajectory.

* DARPA also will deploy a system to see through heat haze

DARPA’s Super-Resolution Vision System (SRVS) will be good enough to positively ID individuals at sniping range:

1) With an aperture not to exceed 6 cm, demonstrate that full scale facial images meeting ANSI INCITS 385-2004 can be correctly identified by trained observers (90% correct identification) at a distance of 1 km (representing a 3x improvement over current performance).

2) Demonstrate better-than-diffraction-limited super-resolution imaging at a speed of not less than 1 Hz where human subjects moving at 1 m/s can be correctly identified by trained observers (90% correct identification) at a distance of 1 km.

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