RedOwl – a thunderstorm of snipers
RedOwl looks like a projector, but looks are known to be deceiving. The device, developed under the leadership of Glenn Thoren, director of Insight Technology, is the “head” for the iRobot PackBot robot platform to detect and identify snipers.
With the help of four microphones, RedOwl is able to determine the location of the sniper a few milliseconds after the shot, and, in addition, to identify the model of his rifle. The latter ability will allow you to “filter” the fire of your troops and allies from the enemy.
The optics of the “red owl” (more precisely, the red barn owl) allows you to read the inscription on the name tag of the enemy sniper from a distance of more than 100 meters, and at a distance of up to a mile the robot can illuminate the target using an infrared laser. Since infrared light is invisible to the human eye, the sniper will not notice it, but for soldiers with night vision devices it will be an excellent target.
RedOwl determines its coordinates using GPS, and the direction and distance to the target using a compass and a laser rangefinder. The maximum range is approximately 900 meters, which makes it possible to deliver an accurate blow to the enemy’s deployment using aircraft or artillery.
RedOwl is controlled by an accompanying soldier using a modified joystick for the Xbox game console, and is able, thanks to the good flotation of the PackBot platform, to move over rough terrain and enter buildings.
The cost of RedOwl is 150 thousand dollars, several prototypes have already passed 10-week tests. Insight Technology, one of the main suppliers for the US Green Berets (U.S. Special Operations Forces), hopes RedOwl enters Iraq this year.