Two-Element Synthetic Acoustic-Field Receiver (SAFIRE) for Sniper Detection

Period of Performance: 04/29/1998 - 07/31/1999


Phase 2 STTR

Recipient Firm

Mission Research Corp.
735 State Street
Santa Barbara, CA 93101
Principal Investigator

Research Institution

Pennsylvania State University
110 Technology Center Building
University Park, PA 16802
Institution POC

Research Topics


This proposal exploits a recent breakthrough in detecting acoustic signals based on laser remote sensing. Called SAFIRE (Synthetic Acoustic-Field Receiver), it detects sound by using a laser to measure the acoustic displacement of natural aerosols suspended in the atmosphere. Its great advantage lies in the ability to detect sound propagating through a distant volume of air. This leads to a number of unique capabilities for detecting and locating snipers, and for a broad range of uses in Battlefield Acoustics as well. The main technical objective of the work proposed here is to construct a two-element virtual array using commercially available components and validate predictions of the performance model regarding acoustic sensitivity and acoustic coherence between the elements. Validation of these properties would establish the likely scalability of the technique to large, multi-element virtual arrays. It would also establish its likely tolerance to rugged field environments and fieldable lasers. The SAFIRE technique, if successful, would be a revolutionary change in acoustic sensing technology. The unique capability to deploy, on demand, a large, invisible acoustic array, high in the sky, is a dream not only for sniper detection, but for battlefield acoustics in general. Commercial applications are numerous, mainly for defense, intelligence, and other government agencies. Applications include long range battlefield reconnaissance, acoustic seekers for terminally-guided sub-munitions, detection of underground facilities, target measurement and signature analysis, airborne reconnaissance, and antisubmarine warfare.