The U.S. Army infantry in Afghanistan have begun receiving SWATS (Soldier Worn Acoustic Targeting Systems) sniper detectors. About 1,500 a month will be delivered through the end of the year. These 183 g (6.4 ounce) devices come in two pieces. One is the sensor, that is worn on the shoulder, while the cell phone size controller, with small LCD display, is worn in front, where it can be quickly glanced at. SWATS calculates (from the of the sound weapon fired) direction of fire in a tenth of a second. SWATS has been very popular with troops, and cost about $2,000 each. SWATS can also be mounted on vehicles, and still work when the vehicle is moving at speeds of 80 kilometers an hour or more.
Devices like SWATS have been around for several years now, and troops find the sniper detectors are a big help. Last year, 4,500 American troops were shot (most were wounded) by gunfire in Afghanistan. Without sniper detectors, there would be more such casualties. That’s because, with a sniper detector, troops can quickly turn on the enemy shooter and deliver accurate fire of their own. American infantry are much more accurate shooters than your average Taliban gunman. That first shot from the Taliban usually misses, which is less likely when American infantry return fire. SWATS is more accurate and reliable than earlier gunfire detectors.