Boeing to integrate ShotSpotter into ScanEagle UAV

Published 24 January 2007

Air Force contract shows how two seemingly-unrelated technologies can find a happy marriage in homeland security; planners will conduct a four month test of the ShotSpotter’s ability to locate sniper fire; system could be in Iraq soon afterwards

We like nothing better than when two technologies we admire come together in a cooperative effort. Not that we think our own reports are responsible, but we have been informing readers for some time now about Santa Clara, California-based ShotSpotter — known for its urban gunshot location system currently installed in at least sixteen cities — and we have not at all neglected Boeing’s ScanEagle UAV, one of the best in its class. Now we hear that the Air Force has awarded Boeing a contract to integrate the two, the idea being to provide additional force protection for military convoys and bases against sniper fire. The Air Force will conduct a four-month military utility assessment to validate Shotground abilities, and if successful the system could join Operation Iraqi Freedom.

-read more in this company news release

This is all pretty impressive stuff, but Gregg Rowland of ShotSpotter told us the company will soon be bringing the technology to Iraq to help counter sniper fire. By attaching sensors to both troops and their vehicles, the system can quickly inform fire control as to the exact location of the threat, thereby permitting a swift response by a Predator drone. The technology is so sophisticated, in fact, that it maintains a record of battle, allowing officers to determine if the rules of engagement are being followed. As for the future, ShotSpotter is currently developing a classification engine that can identify the actual gun being fired. As Rowland explained, there’s a big difference between hearing a .32 caliber pistol on the other side of a hill and hearing a .50 caliber machine gun.