Technology 2 min read

New Audio Technology Exposes Location of Enemy Snipers During Combat

Getmilitaryphotos /

Getmilitaryphotos /

A French researcher has developed a new audio technology that can pinpoint a sniper’s location and send the information to soldiers via a smartphone in real time.

To date, combat helmets are equipped with Tactical Communication and Protective Systems that provide ear protection and allow soldiers to talk to their comrades and other forces. However, these helmets cannot detect enemy assailants.

In a statement, French combat acoustic researcher Dr. Sébastien Hengy said:

“At the beginning of an ambush, the most important thing for soldiers is to know where the shooting is coming from so that they can hide on the right side of a vehicle or at least aim in the right direction – and they need this information very fast.”

This led Dr. Hengy to develop a proof of concept that utilizes microphones of battle helmets to locate a sniper’s acoustic information and transmit it through the soldier’s smartphone, enabling them to know the real-time location of the enemy.

New Audio Technology to Detect Enemy Location

TCAPS are equipped with four microphones located outside and inside the ear canal, just beneath the helmet’s hearing protection. In French combat helmets, these microphones serve as an electronic filter that blocks loud noises caused by explosions and firing of weapons.

Dr. Hengy’s audio technology takes advantage of the acoustic waves generated by the supersonic speeds of weapon bullets: the supersonic shock wave and the muzzle wave. Dr. Hengy explained:

“Our system uses the microphone underneath the hearing protection in order to detect the shock and muzzle waves generated by supersonic shots and record the time difference of arrival of the Mach wave between the left and right ear. By combining the information sent by all the TCAPS deployed on the field, this gives you the direction of arrival of the waves and thus the direction in which the shooter is.”

The information gathered by Dr. Hengy’s system is then sent via Bluetooth or USB to the soldier’s smartphone. Then, the data fusion algorithm also developed by Dr. Hengy will calculate the shooter’s location. Smartphone’s with good processors can allegedly calculate the trajectory in half a second.

Dr. Hengy’s audio technology is already being used by the French Operation Sentinelle domestic anti-terror force.

Read More: The U.S. Army Is Using Virtual Reality Combat To Train Soldiers

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Chelle is the Product Management Lead at INK. She's an experienced SEO professional as well as UX researcher and designer. She enjoys traveling and spending time anywhere near the sea with her family and friends.

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