Raytheon BBN Technologies: Boomerang - Boomerang

Raytheon BBN Technologies:
Mark Bell
Matthew Mayer
Eric Seminoff
Problem Space
 Snipers have become the second greatest cause of fatalities in
combat in Iraq and Afghanistan.
 Enemy fighters were shooting at convoys. The noise from the
vehicles often resulted in our soldiers and marines being
unaware they were under an attack until bullets hit them or
their vehicles.
 Even if soldiers realize they are under attack, they usually
have a hard time figuring out where the shots are coming
Tarmiyah, Iraq
Hidden sniper stalking U.S. troops.
Najaf, Iraq
Picture of an Iraqi Shiite militia sniper shooting at US troops from an empty building
Problem Space cont.
 As a result of these continuous attacks and the casualties they were inflicting,
U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld sought to develop a solution to this
problem in Iraq and Afghanistan
 Proposed requirements for this technology:
 Shooter localization to plus or minus 15 degree accuracy within one second of
the shot
 The ability to detect shots within a range of one to 30 meters
 Ability to detect and localize fire from AK-47s and other small arms at ranges
from 50 to 150 meters
 Reliable performance in urban environments with low buildings
 Operable when mounted on a vehicle moving up to 60 MPH on various types of
 Ability to withstand sand, pebbles, rain, and light foliage impacts
 Ability to deliver alert information in both a voice announcement and on an
LED display
 Microphone array and electronics box must be able to be replaced in the field
Solution: Boomerang
Solution cont.
 Developed and manufactured by BBN technologies of Cambridge, MA
(Raytheon) in 2003.
Mounted to buildings, Humvees, Stryker armored vehicles and even
hand-pulled carts. They are also mounted at checkpoints and on top of
compound walls, hospitals and other military installations.
The boomerang attaches on a mast to the rear of a vehicle and uses an
array of seven small microphone sensors.
Sensors detect and measure the muzzle blast and the supersonic shock
wave from a bullet traveling through the air.
Since bullets travel faster than the speed of sound, a shockwave is
created from air particles being pushed aside.
Solution cont.
 As the gun is fired and the bullet’s shockwave expands outward, a
computer program records the different times at which the
shockwave arrives at each microphone.
 Boomerang then uses sophisticated algorithms to compute:
 The direction the bullet is coming from
 Distance above the ground
 Range to the shooter
 Once this information is computed, users receive simultaneous
visual and auditory information on the shooters location from an
LED 12-hour clock image display panel as well as a speaker. The
system then resets for subsequent shot detection.
Solution cont.
•Example of
Boomerang III
•Mounts inside of
Potential Problems / Analysis of
Proposed Technology
•$15,000 per system
•Most of this goes
towards the
processing unit.
 The system is designed to detect rounds fired from almost
any small arms weapon,
 The system has two variation with a third in development
(Boomerang I, II, III respectively),
 The first system Boomerang I was first tested in
 Boomerang II was deployed in 2008 sending 1100 systems to
US forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.
System Accuracy
 False shot detections are less than one per thousand hours of
system operation at vehicle speeds under 50 miles per hour.
 Missed shots are less than one per 500 shots at vehicle speeds
under 50 miles per hour.
 Combat tested,
 There are around 6000
boomerang systems in Iraq
and Afghanistan,
 They are estimated to have
saved more than 100 lives in
the last few years
 Installation takes 1 hour
 Training only takes 30
 -Quickly detect and locate incoming
small arms fire,
-Alerts with both a visual and audible
queue when being fired upon,
-Is not triggered by return fire,
-Can distinguish between gunshots and
other ambient noises (i.e. fireworks, car
backfiring) this is because it only
detects supersonic noises and this rules
out almost anything except gunfire
-Can track multiple enemies at once
-Combat tested and reliable
 Right now it is only available to military and federal agencies
 Cost is quite high for local police departments to buy
Acceptance / Pushback
 -The Boomerang system
has received great
acceptance from the end
 The Boomerang System is a
disruptive technology and
this is the reason for the
cost of it being so high.
Future Vision
 Boomerang Perimeter Defense
 Boomerang Position and Heading Sensor
 Boomerang Warrior
Boomerang Perimeter Defense
Solution Description
 Strategically placed sensor arrays, Boomerang Server and
networking infrastructure
 Scalable architecture
 Fully networked for instant
shooter location reports
 Shooter location information displayed locally and to other
third-party systems
 Simple operation
 Operates in any environment
 No calibration
 Easy to maintain
 Reliable shooter detection
 Minimal training required
and localization
 No false alerts
 Full 360-degree coverage
 Hostile shooter localization in
azimuth, range and elevation
Boomerang Warrior
 Full 360-degree coverage with
no signal blockage from head,
torso, knapsack
 Operates in all orientations
(standing, leaning, or prone)
 Full motion compensation
 Hostile shooter localization in:
 Azimuth
 Range
 Elevation
 Wrist mounted visual display
and earpiece audio alert
 Return fire alert suppression
 Shot detection >95%
 False alerts <1%
 Response time <1.5
 Total weight: 2lbs
 Operating temperature
-20 to 50 degrees Celsius
 This is an extremely useful technology that is helping save the
lives of US forces, but it can be applied in many other areas
and put to good use. We recommend that this technology
continue to be improved, maintained and implemented in
any hostile environment.