French Soldiers To Get QinetiQ Gunfire Detector
PARIS — France is buying an acoustic gunfire detection system for soldiers in a deal with QinetiQ North America. The shoulder-mounted system increases survivability on the battlefield by being able to pinpoint enemy small-arms fire in under a second.
QinetiQ North America said in a statement that the system has been credited with saving the lives of U.S. troops in Afghanistan and Iraq since it was first fielded in 2007.
The company, part of the British-based QinetiQ Group, said it is supplying an initial order from the French Ministry of Defence for 250 of its SWATS shoulder-worn acoustic targeting system.
France has been considering the purchase of a gunfire detection system for several months, and the procurement comes at a time of heightened concerns over casualties as a result of a suicide bomb attack last weekend that killed several French troops and others.
It is not known whether the systems are initially destined for French special forces or other units.
More than 17,500 of the gunfire detection systems have been sold to the U.S. Army and other units for deployment, but this is the first time any European military has acquired anything other than small test quantities, said QinetiQ North America’s technology solutions group president JD Crouch at Eurosatory this week.
Crouch said QinetiQ’s “expansion into the European market shows that SWATS is quickly becoming the global standard for wearable gunfire detection.”
At least one other European nation with forces deployed in Afghanistan is also known to be urgently considering purchasing a gunfire detections system.
The SWATS system, which weighs in at less than a pound, is able to provide dismounted troops with virtually instant information on the distance and direction of gunfire at ranges of more than 450 meters.
The U.S. systems were purchased by the French through the NATO Maintenance and Supply Agency.