The Gunslinger Project is the spiral development of a multi-spectral, on-the-move hostile fire detection and counter fire system that provides mobile ground forces in operational environments with real-time and precise location of hostile direct fire as well as the ability to engage the source of the hostile fire in near-real time. As the Gunslinger Lead Systems Integrator, Naval Surface Warfare Center, Dahlgren Division has successfully integrated an electro-optical infrared detection system, an acoustic detection system, a stabilized gun mount, and a Situational Awareness (SA) video system as the primary components. These sensors and weapon system have also been integrated with navigation and communication systems to track event detections while “on-the-move” and to relay information about those events using either satellite or Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN) communications. Managed by the Officeof Naval Research, Code 30, Maneuver Thrust Area, Gunslinger is a joint project between the Army, Navy, and Marine Corps along with several government laboratories and industry partners, working together to develop a hostile-fire detection and counter-fire system which is militarily relevant and has a high degree of military utility. Gunslinger has recently completed a six month tour in Iraq where it participated in over a thousand missions and was used to provide overwatch surveillance at Al Asad and street patrols in Fallujah.
During FY04, Spiral 1, a mobile, but not on-the-move capable system was developed. From July of 2005 to May of 2006, the Gunslinger Technical IPT designed, integrated and demonstrated Spiral 2, a ruggedized system capable of locating targets, selecting targets for engagement, and engaging those targets while the vehicle is on-the-move. Gunslinger Spiral 2 was delivered to the Marine Wing Support Squadron – 371, and was employed in Iraq as an integral part of the squadron’s lead base, convoy security teams and IED Quick Reaction Force response teams. Gunslinger Spiral 3 used lessons learned from spiral 2 and the successful deployment in Iraq to develop a more compact modular system. Integrated onto a HMMWV to demonstrate the ability to host the system on a small platform, Gunslinger Spiral 3 utilizes a modular design approach with quick release latches, loosely integrated mounting plates, and a portable operator station allowing the system to be moved to more capable platforms, such as the International MXT-MV, in a matter of hours. In addition, Gunslinger’s Safety Program, praised by US Navy Safety Review Boards, has eliminated and reduced hazards to acceptable levels and received WSESRB concurrence for the six month operational experimentation conducted in Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Software Development & Graphical User Interface
The Gunslinger Software is the primary product and the heart of the Gunslinger system. The Software is government developed, government owned and government maintained. The software architecture is designed in three layers: The hardware interface layer, the brain layer and the presentation layer. The architecture of the software allows for the rapid integration of new hardware. Gunslinger Spiral 3 software implemented a reliable messaging architecture allowing the software to interface with wireless systems and assure reliable communication between the hardware and the display. The Gunslinger Graphical User Interface (GUI) displays detected hostile fireevent locations from the two sensor systems on an integrated display for the Gunslinger Operator. Once hostile fireevents are located, the operator can select a target and can slew the MK45 gun weapon system to that target location. Once the gun mount is in position, it continues to track that location until the operator determines how to respond. The operator may return fre after aiming adjustments are made for the gun. The GUI also displays information on the health and status of all on-board sensors, provides orientation and navigation data with the integrated maps, and provides several user defned viewing modes so the operator can choose the display mode that best fitshis current mission. Display modes include a MK 45 mode for return fire, a surveillance mode for situational awareness, and a map mode for navigation.
MK 45 weapon system
Gunslinger’s lethal component is the MK 45 weapon system. Developed by the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Port Hueneme Division, Louisville Detachment in conjunction with North Star Systems, Inc, the MK45 is a stabilized gun mount. It is designed to accept the 7.62mm M240G, M2 50 cal, or MK-19 40 mm Grenade Machine Guns. It is also equipped with a highly capable optics package that allows the operator to locate and identify targets during the day or at night.
Developed by the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Dahlgren Division - VideoSlinger is a 360 degree situational awareness camera system that uses day or night cameras to provide the operator with a full view around the vehicle. The system is also capable of capturing the gunfireevent by recording all cameras simultaneously. When gunfireis detected the timestamp of the detection and the video from the correct camera are matched and the operator is provided with a video clip of the gunfire event. The system also records continuous snapshots of all cameras at one second intervals to produce a video history of the mission that can be played back post mission.
Acoustic Gunfire Detection System
Four Corner Projectile Detection and Cueing (or 4 Corner PDCue) and Boomerang are Gunslinger’s most used acoustic detection systems. These systems serve as an extension to the operators’ ears, listening in all directions for gun fire and accurately locating those events. PDCue, commercialized by AAI Corporation, is based on Mobile Counter Fire System technology, developed by the Marine Corps Warfghting Laboratory and the U.S. Army Research Laboratory. Boomerang is produced by BBN Technologies which began as a DARPA project and is a proven system with current in-the-field systems.
Infrared Gunfire Detection System
Gunslinger’s electro-optical infrared detection system is the Weapon Watch System. Weapon Watch is capable of muzzle flash detection within its Field of View. It serves as an extension to the operators’ eyes, watching for hostile fire events and accurately locating those events. Weapon Watch was developed through the Overwatch Advanced Concept Technology Demonstration Program by U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command and Radiance Technologies, Inc.