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Working to Make Combat Soldiers' Lives Easier

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In combat, things can be so chaotic and loud that soldiers sometimes aren't even aware they're being shot at.

But thanks to technology from the company that is often credited with inventing the Internet, thousands of American troops in Iraq and Afghanistan are now able to rely on an automatic system that not only alerts them—in a very loud, urgent voice—that shots are being fired but also gives them an almost instant notification of where the shots are coming from.

This is Boomerang, a vehicle-mounted mobile acoustic shot-detection system first developed by BBN Technologies in 2003, and which is now in its third iteration. And now, for the first time, BBN's owner, the giant defense contractor Raytheon, is making public that it has developed—and put into the field—a shoulder-mounted version of Boomerang that allows combat soldiers on foot patrol the same kind of almost instantaneous detection of shots fired, allowing them to quickly and effectively respond.

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