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Othello-P Gunfire-Detection System Attracts Global Attention

September 2, 2022

by: Yaakov Lappin, Jewish News Agency

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A new gunfire-detection system unveiled by Israel Aerospace Industries [IAI] is attracting worldwide attention from potential clients, and company officials say its ability to turn shooters’ locations into precise target data means that “the imagination is the limit” in terms of usage and impact on future battlefields.

The Othello-P system can detect anything from machine-gun fire, handguns, RPGs, 30-millimeter cannons and other types of threats. The system can detect hostile fire at lengthy ranges, including 2 kilometers [1.2 mi.] for RPG attacks and more than 400 meters [437 yd.] for AK-47 fire. Sniper positions can also be detected from hundreds of meters away.

According to IAI, the system can be used in both stationary and on-the-move configurations, on vehicles, armored platforms, tanks and autonomous unmanned systems, as well as vehicles that transport VIPs and paramilitary vehicles. A version also exists for infantry and special force units.

Described as lightweight, Othello-P speeds up the time it takes for forces to locate enemy positions and turn that information into targeting data for return fire in a process known as the sensor-to-shooter loop.

Asher Abish, director of marketing at IAI–ELTA’s Land Division, said Othello-P was developed using a combination of innovation and developing existing systems. “One of the biggest problems that we have is getting situational awareness. This comes into our minds as cameras around us, letting us see our surroundings. But it’s actually much, much more than that,” said Abish.

Situation awareness means knowing where friendly and hostile forces are, the location of vehicles and where firing positions inside buildings are—and then turning that information into targeting coordinates that can be placed on a map.

“Othello-P is a unique approach, a system that detects the source of fire. If someone is shooting at me, I can identify where the fire is coming from, what the location of the shooter is,” he added.

The camera’s (electro-optical) sensor identifies the flash of hostile fire that emanates from a barrel. The acoustic sensor identifies the blast, as well as shockwaves that are generated by bullets passing nearby. “We can integrate all three—or even just two of these—to get a location,” said Abish.

Othello-P can operate in day or night and in all-weather conditions, stated IAI representatives.The sensor can also be mounted on a tripod for VIP protection, such as on the balcony of a president. The system can also detect the sources of fire directed against neighboring friendly sources.

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