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Army’s prototype system uses RFID tags to track weapons use

Wednesday, May 7th, 2008

Commercial versions of the equipment could begin appearing by the end of the year. The prototype was first tested on guns installed on M1A2 Abrams Main Battle Tanks. The lab did initial testing on a medium-caliber cannon barrel for several hundred shots. “Putting the prototype on an existing fielded system will allow real-world testing in some of the harshest environments imaginable,” Miner said.

The technology package placed on each weapon consists of a piezoelectric sensor that determines when the weapon has been fired by sensing the recoil, a tiny processor with limited memory to record and store output from the sensor, and an RFID tag to communicate the data to an RFID reader.

Using signatures developed by the lab, the package can record the number and type of rounds fired and even deduce other characteristics from the intensity of the firing, such as strain, acceleration, heat and resonant electromagnetic frequencies, all of which can help estimate the viability of the weapons. (more…)