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Measurement of Bullet Impact Conditions Using Automated In-Flight Photography System



Knowledge of impact conditions is critical to evaluating the terminal impact performance of a projectile. For a small caliber bullet, in-flight velocity has been precisely measured for decades using detection screens, but accurately quantifying the orientation of the bullet on a target has been more challenging. This report introduces the Automated Small-Arms Photogrammetry (ASAP) analysis method used to measure, model, and predict the orientation of a small caliber bullet before reaching an impact surface. ASAP uses advanced hardware developed by Sydor Technologies to record a series of infrared digital photographs. Individual images (four orthogonal pairs) are processed using computer vision algorithms to quantify the orientation of the projectile and re-project its precise position and orientation into a three-dimensional muzzle-fixed coordinate system. An epicyclic motion model is fit to the measured data, and the epicyclic motion is extrapolated to the target location. Analysis results are fairly immediate and may be reviewed during testing. Proveout demonstrations have shown that the impact-angle prediction capability is less than six hundredths of a degree for the 5.56mm ball round tested.


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