Situational awareness of shooters

Every law enforcement and military unit member takes individual and group firearms training. The purpose of the exercise is not only to quickly identify the target, the possibility of hitting it effectively and to prepare for shooting, but also to shoot from different weapons, from different positions at different distances. Speed, accuracy, concentration, self-control and stress control. There are so many factors that determine the success of a shooting.

Coordination between fighters in the same or different units and personal safety is an important element. Let’s look at these issues in detail.

The shooters of one unit occupy one position, the shooters of another unit occupy another position. All positions are hidden and shooters can’t see each other. There is either radio communication or radio silence. Question: How to protect yourself from getting in the line of fire of your colleagues? The next question: how to choose the distance at which you can effectively control your enemy or suspected intruder, and he is less likely to be able to aim accurately?

In recent times you can often hear about robots, air drones and augmented reality helmets, which should provide situational awareness of the military unit and the individual fighter at a new quality level. In this blog, we describe what specific practical benefits are gained by a shooter with different levels of training.

So, the first problem is to ensure perfect coordination between fighters of one or more units, as well as to continuously monitor targets and be in threat detection mode. The Furtherium helmet interface (AR HUD full face mask) and software using Computer Vision technology allows to see the positions of friendly (friend-or-foe) and unfriendly persons on a 360° navigation map.

Without the use of a drone, position control is based on radio direction finding and RFID tags with a dynamic code worn by staff. Limit distance for identification is 400 yards. The dynamic code changes in multiples of time, authorization is based on a changeable voice test and retinal scanning. This eliminates the possibility of unauthorized use of someone else’s ID.

With the use of drones, firstly, the range of identification is significantly extended (up to 3 times the value or even more), and secondly, in addition to the use of radio signals, the technology of object recognition through high definition camera signals, thermal imaging cameras and identification of objects through Machine Learning: inanimate objects, possible shelters, animals, people and their gender and age characteristics, analysis of movement trajectory, body position and body parts of objects in the dynamics, the probability of the presence of weapons or improvised explosive devices hidden under clothing.

A large digital library of constantly added video footage from helmet and drone cameras, wearable police video recorders, and training samples simulated by experienced trainers can significantly improve computer responses to possible threats and warn fighters in advance.

Launching, landing, and replacing drone batteries is a routine task that can be robotized using, for example, a USAMWV vehicle performing transport, convoy escort, fire cover, and medical evacuation tasks. A fully automatic aerial monitoring program is capable of keeping 3 to 5 small quadcopters constantly in the air at different altitudes, both during special operations, patrols, inspections, and during convoy movement. Approximately every 20 minutes, the drones land on a platform with sliding doors in the USAMWV trunk, where a quick battery change is performed and the drone is restarted and put into alert mode.

Thus, even in radio silence mode all the gunners of the different units are guaranteed to see each other, see the likely threats, can choose safer positions and at the same time have excellent situational awareness. I can say with high probability that all of the above is not our know-how, but was proposed by experts, most likely more than 10 years ago. It was proposed, but has not been implemented yet.

What we want to offer in addition to the above is beyond the scope of view of many experts and is elements of one of our patent applications.

Now for the second problem. In our understanding, it is not enough to provide shooters the good situational awareness. It is necessary to provide super-powers even for medium-skilled shooters, to give them the ability to accurately aim and hit the target at long distances, which is currently available only to highly skilled snipers, using sniper weapons, optics and ammunition. And what is more, the task is to ensure that all shooters are able to hit the targets accurately from a closed safe position for the shooter.

The Furtherium helmet interface (AR HUD full face mask) together with the software and through integration with the digital aiming device on most long guns are able to realize the following tasks:

(a) When searching and detecting threats and targets, the FOV is not reduced, the peripheral part of the field of view is fully engaged, the shooter’s work without cover becomes safer

(b) The shooter does not lose visual awareness, does not close his eye, and does not focus his attention on the rifle scope eyepiece. The image from the electronic aiming device camera is displayed near the central image of the helmet cameras for easy identification of the optical axis icon of the line of sight, once the optical axis of the sight and the helmet cameras image are matched, the additional image is switched off

(c) No parallax effect with respect to the aiming reticle

(d) The shooter does not need a spotter, all parameters for ballistic calculations and corrections are performed by the helmet software within milliseconds

(e) Aiming from hiding position has some variants, which need to be tested: firstly, instead of helmet embedded cameras an aiming devices camera can be used for the central area of vision, secondly, for the shooter’s safety an external NVG mount of helmet can be equipped with high-definition, infrared and thermal camera connected to the helmet via USB, so the shooter’s head can be completely hidden behind a hiding place

(f) Calculation using ballistic tables, environmental parameters and shooter position, as well as the calculation of most horizon and vertical displacement corrections is instantaneous, the shooter makes corrections manually or confirms them after target detection, and they are made automatically. The time interval between firing on different targets is less than 1 second. This is important for the cases of police snipers, when the change of position is not required, but on the contrary, speed of fire and coordinated shots of several snipers (e.g. to terminate, when an intruder holding hostages is behind a glass or several panes of glass)

(g) The augmented reality capabilities combined with the helmet software offer significant advantages in shooting tactics against the enemy or the intruder. After a short practice, almost any police officer using an automatic long-barreled weapon acquires the combat skills of a sniper with a range of up to 600 yards, which is many times better than the targeting distance of an intruder.

We believe it is an important and humane step to provide military, special forces, police, sheriff’s deputies, FBI, DEA, ATF agents, USMS, and CBP units troops such opportunities to reduce fatalities, injuries, and related officer stress. The battlefield advantage of legitimate authorities is an important element in understanding the inevitability for intruders. From our side, we have the technological capabilities to implement these proposals in a limited time.

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