US Africa Command acquiring hostile fire detectors

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The US Army is buying nearly $20 million worth of hostile fire detection systems to protect Africa Command (Africom) troops from hostile actors.

Logos Technologies LLC, a subsidiary of Elbit Systems of America, announced on 29 February that it had received a $19.4 million contract to supply, maintain and operate its Serenity hostile fire detection (HFD) systems.

It said the five-year contract is the newest instalment in a long-standing effort by United States Africa Command to employ dual-sensor Serenity HFD systems to safeguard US expeditionary forces against radicalised actors.

“By combining electro-optical and acoustic sensors, Serenity can pinpoint the origin of heavy weapons fire and explosions up to 10 kilometres away in any direction,” said Doug Rombough, Vice President of Business Development for Logos Technologies, “and it does so with fewer false positives than standard, single-sensor HFD systems”.

The Serenity system weighs 50-75 pounds (23-34 kg), depending on the configuration, and can be mounted on towers and aerostats (and as well as some aircraft). On an aerostat, Serenity can be coupled with a wide-area motion imagery (WAMI) system, providing operators with additional near real-time and archived imagery.

“This way, Serenity can cue the WAMI system to a particular area of interest — say, the location of an enemy mortar team — and then the WAMI system can track their movement across the battlefield, as well as ‘go back in time’ and discover their initial staging area”, Rombough said.

In addition to the US Army, other armed services have expressed interest in Serenity. Company officials also note that the US Army Research Laboratory has been experimenting with reducing the size and weight of Serenity and putting it on a gyrocopter as a surrogate for an unmanned aircraft system.

“Given the ongoing success of Serenity in the field with US forces, there’s interest in having a rapidly deployable version that can be used by international forces”, he said.