CIDS development

Qinetiq, General Dynamics United Kingdom and Rockwell Collins have been awarded £3m by the Ministry of Defence to develop the Joint Data Network Combat Identification Server Technical Demonstrator.

According to Qinetiq, the Combat Identification Server (CIDS) will contribute to improving tactical situational awareness for UK forces involved in the delivery and control of indirect and direct fires to land operations.

It will also assist in improving situational awareness for forces working together on other joint fires operations.

CIDS will provide military commanders and pilots with fast access to accurate near-real-time force-tracking and location information, improving mission effectiveness through increased accuracy and tempo of operations and assisting in reducing the frequency of ‘friendly fire’ casualties.

The CIDS will correlate blue-force tracking information from 15 different network sources including Link-16, Bowman and UK asset-tracking systems as well as coalition network sources.

Once requests are received, the CIDS will make it available to joint fires assets and Close Air Support (CAS)/Close Combat Air (CCA) aircraft.

CIDS will use Link-16, Variable Message Format (VMF) and AFAPD networks, and eventually other tactical networks to redistribute blue-force tracking information, thus providing military commanders with location information about friendly and hostile forces.

The Technical Demonstrator Programme’s (TDP) capabilities will be tested against realistic CAS and Forward Air Controller (FAC) engagement scenarios.

The programme will be managed by the Tactical Data Links (TDL) Integrated Product Team and will feed into the Joint Data Network (JDN) Backbone programme, which focuses on linking tactical networks to support joint and coalition war fighting. Work is due to commence in February 2009 and complete in June 2010.

Prime contractor, General Dynamics UK, will lead on systems engineering and integration activity; Rockwell Collins’s UK subsidiary on CIDS software development; and Qinetiq on the trials and demonstration activity, data fusion and provision of multiple-level security devices.

The CIDS will use General Dynamics UK’s NetLink multi-link tactical gateway and Rockwell Collins’s Rosetta Technology multi-link gateway to provide connectivity to the various tactical networks. All development and integration work will be conducted within the UK.