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All Hands on Tech

Raytheon demos gunfire detector, touch-screen launcher at Farnborough

The Boomerang III shooter-detection system was on exhibit at the Farnborough Airshow. Boomerang's microphones, seen here near the rear of a Humvee, detect sniper fire and pinpoint the shooter's location. (Photo Credit: Air Force Master Sgt. Andy Dunaway)

It isn’t often you see people volunteering to step into a sniper’s sights. But that’s exactly what happened in Raytheon's pavilion at the Farnborough International Airshow, where visitors tried out the Boomerang shooter detection system -- just one of the cool technologies the company brought to the show.

The life-saving Boomerang, which instantly warns soldiers of small-arms fire, went on exhibit alongside the Patriot Modern Man Station, the touch-screen control console for Raytheon’s Patriot Air and Missile Defense System; and the powerful Standard Missile-3 missile interceptor.

“Raytheon is, first and foremost, a technology company,” said Roy Azevedo, Raytheon’s vice president of advanced concepts and technology. “All of our technology is designed with one customer in mind – the soldier whose mission depends on its successful operation. Visitors to our exhibit at Farnborough this year will get a firsthand experience of that commitment to customer success.”

The Boomerang Warrior-X shows the location of incoming gunfire on a handheld indicator.

Visitors to the Boomerang demonstration stood under a dome that mimicked the sounds of a war zone, including the noise of an Army Humvee on the move. Boomerang’s microphones cut through the noise and listen for the shock waves created by small-arms fire. The system warns soldiers when a shot has been fired, then pinpoints the shooter’s location.

The live demonstration at Farnborough featured the vehicle-mounted Boomerang III. Boomerang Warrior-X, which sits on a soldier’s shoulder, was available for customer and media inquiries. The company has also developed Boomerang Air, which can be embeddded on a helicopter and can detect gunfire over the deafening whoosh of its blades. 
 
Earlier this month, Raytheon announced it will provide Boomerang to protect utility sites in the mid-Atlantic region of the United States. The contract comes after snipers attacked an electrical substation in San Jose, California in April 2013, knocking out 17 transformers and causing damage so severe it took nearly a month to repair.

“With more than 10,000 units deployed, Boomerang is the most widely deployed shooter detection system in the world,” Azevedo said. “Just as our vehicle-mounted and soldier-wearable Boomerang systems have been well received internationally, I believe there is a substantial need for Boomerang Air with our allies.”

Raytheon’s Farnborough visitors also got a close look at the Patriot Modern Man Station – a colorful, touch-screen graphic display that helps operators identify airborne objects, track threats and engage targets including aircraft, unmanned air vehicles, cruise missiles and tactical ballistic missiles.

Raytheon's visitors at Farnborough sat at the controls of the Patriot Modern Man Station to see how warfighters use the latest technology to survey the battlespace.

“It’s intuitive,” said William Blake, director of Integrated Air and Missile Defense business development, “and perfectly configurable to our customer’s needs.”

Raytheon also exhibited a life-size model of its Standard Missile-3 kill vehicle, a defensive weapon used by the United States Navy to destroy short- to intermediate-range ballistic missiles. The United States plans to deploy ground-based versions of the SM-3 in Romania and Poland as part of efforts to help protect Europe.

The SM-3 Block IB is designed to protect U.S. deployed and NATO forces in Europe from ballistic missile attack.

The SM-3 uses no explosives but instead destroys its target through sheer force alone, packing a punch equal to a 10-ton truck traveling at 600 mph.

“It’s like a bullet hitting a bullet,” said Brent White, Raytheon Missile Systems' manager for meetings, events and trade shows. “Visitors will get to see what it’s like to launch all the way from ground to impact in space.”

Also at Farnborough, interactive displays provided visitors with information on Raytheon’s Active Electronically Scanned Array radar for the F-16 and the company’s Next Generation Jammer, an electronic attack pod that will replace aging ALQ-99 systems on the U.S. Navy’s EA-18G jets.

Last Updated: 07/21/2014

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