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Agency: Naval Research Laboratory
The U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) has developed a mission-planning software tool for planning sniper/counter-sniper missions, special recon, force protection, personnel security, and sensor, camera, and mine placement. This is known as the Sniper-RT®.
So what is it?
It’s a scouting computer program.
Specifically, it’s a laptop-deployable software application that uses digital 3D terrain data from any source to determine and display locations. Additional features include custom range-rings/grids, headroom contours, and multiple coordinate displays. And this thing works. I mean it’s already in use by federal law enforcement and the U.S. Intelligence Community (IC), so it’s the real deal.
It’s also not some crazy incompatible program that needs a computer the size of a server room to function. It’s actually more convenient than you would think. Sniper-RT® can be deployed on any laptop with a medium-level graphics card. That’s…actually pretty reasonable. You could run Sniper-RT® on your gaming laptop and play Minecraft at the same time. Not that you should do that by any means, but you get my point. You’ll get the best performance with a 2+ core processor, obviously, but there are no other hardware, software, licensing, or training preconditions. For all the complicated work it does, using it is rather simple.
Not to mention effective.
What does it do?
Essentially, this performs a kind of digital all-inclusive scouting mission. It’s a computerized scan and search mission without putting a human in harm’s way to get the information. By asking, “what can I see” and “where can I be seen”, the tool graphically indicates areas visible to observers at known positions in a 3D scene, as well as positions from which these observers can be seen. It gives you the scope (see what I did there?) of the battlefield, and the best places to place soldiers, snipers, cameras, etc.
How can this help the warfighter?
Well, I think the advantage is obvious. It gives the warfighter the benefit of knowing what they’re facing and the most ideal places to be in what could possibly be a hostile scenario. Some of the features of the Sniper-RT® include tactical air control, force protection (exposing areas in defilade), sniper/counter-sniper mission planning, covert ingress/egress and reconnaissance, convoy/protectee planning, and general threat assessment.
According to the info paper provided by NRL, the Sniper-RT® applications provide high value security and training for military and law enforcement, SWAT, viewshed determination for geospatial intelligence, architectural design, and placement of video surveillance cameras and sensors.
I’d say it’s a holistic approach to “knowing what you’re up against”, don’t you?
The Sniper-RT® is a program that’s impressive no matter how you slice it.
Surprises are rarely good things on deployment, and this software application not only takes some of the guesswork out of a potentially hazardous situation, but also provides meaningful suggestions on where to be and what to avoid. It’s a strategic advantage that service members could really use in many different types of scenarios.
I mean, having that kind of battlefield wherewithal would put you at the top of the tier in a first person shooter co-op, but in real life? When it actually matters? That could make all the difference.
This is absolutely something worth having in my book. I give the Sniper-RT® a resounding thumbs up.
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Jessica L. Tozer is a blogger for DoDLive and Armed With Science. She is an Army veteran and an avid science fiction fan, both of which contribute to her enthusiasm for technology in the military.
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