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U.S. Army Sgt. Zack Larson (center left) shows Lt. Gen. John M. Brown (center) commander of U.S Army Pacific, and Command Sgt. Maj. Mark L. Farley, how easy it is to operate the Overwatch system. U.S. Army photo by Spc. Juan Jimenez
Infrared Sensor Prototype To Aid U.S. Soldiers in Combat
By U.S. Army Spc. Juan Jimenez

SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii, Oct. 11, 2005 – As military police soldiers patrolled the streets of the Military Operations in Urban Terrain (MOUT) site Sept. 23, they encountered sniper fire from many directions.

Instead of going through the usual confusion and collateral damage that takes place before locating hostile fire, this time the police received help from new technology.

The 58th Military Police Company took part in a demonstration of the Overwatch Advance Concept Technology Demonstration (ACTD) system to determine its effectiveness for combat.

" This system is really nice, and we're glad that we had the chance to test it now. "We're looking forward to the improvements that will be made on the system, especially while it's on the move."
U.S. Army Sgt. Zack Larson

The Overwatch system provides soldiers with an advantage over their enemy: It helps locate the enemy and gives soldiers the opportunity to return fire quickly.

"This system is really nice, and we're glad that we had the chance to test it now," said Sgt. Zack Larson, a team leader with the 58th Military Police Company. "We're looking forward to the improvements that will be made on the system, especially while it's on the move."

The Overwatch is an infrared sensor introduced by the Space and Missile Defense Command with the purpose of detecting, classifying and locating weapons fired in a complex and urban terrain.

This system can detect hostile fire, collect photographic evidence and provide situational awareness to support ground forces.

The Overwatch system has a field of view of 120 degrees and a distance range of more than 300 meters, increasing force survivability and reducing collateral damage through application of accurate counter fire and counter sniper operations.

The system works by sending the target location of the enemy as a digital message to the tactical operation center located inside the vehicle.

The Overwatch system has been field tested before, at Camp Shelby, Miss., and at Ft. Benning, Ga.

"The system is in its early stages of testing and building," said Reginald Snell, a technician with Radiance Technology. "We still have to find a way to make this prototype smaller, and all-weather resistant.

"Currently, we have five prototypes being tested in Iraq," Snell added, "and we brought this one here to test its capability on the mountainous terrain of Hawaii.

"The Overwatch has performed to our expectations in spite of the improvements it needs," said Snell.

"It is really important to get this prototype ready for the future," added Larson, "because it will help troops in combat."

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