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Small Arms Bullet Tracking Techniques and Algorithm Developments for Improved Soldier Lethality


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Electronics, 

OBJECTIVE: Develop and demonstrate ability to track small arms ammunition projectiles in real time from the platform point of origin to point of impact, using passive or active imaging techniques with any associated algorithms and/or image processing, with an objective to improve Soldier Lethality and eliminate or reduce the need for tracer rounds. 

DESCRIPTION: Using weapon-mounted, or close proximity, video from standard or specialty imagers in a variety of wavebands, determine the best method for tracking small arms ammunition projectiles from the weapon point of origin, in flight, to their impact point. Approaches may use passive or actively illuminated techniques, and may include bullet modifications, for both day and night applications with potential to correct or adjust reticule aim point. All techniques will be subject to size, weight, power, and cost concerns associated with Army fielding and Dismounted Soldier requirements. 

PHASE I: Phase I investigates advantages and disadvantages of approaches and techniques to imaging and/or tracking small arms projectiles in flight, from origin point at weapon to include impact point, with specific imager selections and imaging modalities. Approaches may include passive or active illumination, with image processing, for both day and night applications. While techniques using existing ammunition are desired, approaches may also include modifications to the projectile itself, but the modifications must be compatible with the cost and manufacturing of small arms ammunition. Radiometric/photometric analysis, with signal to noise ratios, should be included to indicate compatibility of bullet tracking capability with selected Electro Optic imagers and various backgrounds in support of recommended solution space. 

PHASE II: Phase II develops and integrates a brass board prototype system for data collections and determination of viability for selected techniques. 

PHASE III: Phase III determines potential applicability to law enforcement and Department of Homeland Security (DHS), while developing and integrating a prototype system for demonstration. Size, Weight, Power, and Cost will be the focus of final system design, with further emphasis on ease of user operation. 


1: Austin A. Richards and David M. Risdall "Passive thermal imaging of bullets in flight", Proc. SPIE, vol. 5405, p. 258-263 (2004).

KEYWORDS: Small Arms, Bullet Tracking, Tracer, Active Imaging, Image Processing 

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