Sunday, October 30, 2005

Military Testing Infrared Gunfire Detector

Military Testing Infrared Gunfire Detector

Military Testing Infrared Gunfire Detector

By JEFFREY McMURRAY, Associated Press Writer

A sniper fires on American troops in Iraq. In the milliseconds before the bullet hits — in fact, before the shot is even heard — a computer screen reveals the gun's model and exact location. That's the kind of intelligence that can save soldiers' lives. The Army is currently testing the technology in combat.

The devices are made by Radiance Technologies, a small Alabama company, and differ in their approach to gunfire detection from systems already deployed in Iraq that rely on acoustics.

Radiance's invention, WeaponWatch, is powered by infrared sensors that detect missiles or gunfire at the speed of light.

"Obviously when the first shot is fired, you can't do anything about it," said George Clark, president of the company founded in 1999. "But what it does do is it allows you to not have a second fired."

WeaponWatch is a major reason that Radiance, which had only three employees six years ago, now has 275. Over that period, it's been one of the 500 fastest-growing small businesses in the United States.

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