Reducing friendly fire

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BAE Systems has demonstrated a system that is claimed to give combat pilots a previously unavailable view of friendly forces on the battlefield.

BAE Systems

has demonstrated a system that is claimed to give pilots a previously unavailable view of friendly forces on the battlefield, potentially reducing ‘friendly fire’ events during combat operations.

The system combines existing communications, combat identification, and target identification systems and gives pilots ready access to information about friendly forces in the area.

The Combat Identification (CID) System enables pilots to enquire about friendly forces within a specified area. To do so, the system queries several sources of ground situational awareness data and reports the five most relevant results to the pilot in under 10 seconds. CID, intended for use by close-air-support aircraft such as F-15s, F-16s, F/A-18s, CF-18s, and A-10s, was demonstrated at the US Joint Forces Command’s Exercise Bold Quest Plus at Eglin Air Force Base.

Bob Summitt, senior analyst for the Joint Forces Command’s Joint Fires Integration and Interoperability Team, which evaluated CID, said: ‘The CID server is a perfect example of how we can improve combat identification capabilities and combat effectiveness and save lives.

‘It gives pilots a view of friendlies in the area that they’ve never had before.’

BAE Systems developed the system in cooperation with the Joint Forces Command’s J85 Joint Fires Division to fill a gap in air-to-ground combat identification.

The CID server uses service-oriented architecture (a structure that packages functions as interoperable services) to create a flexible and adaptable approach to combat identification. The architecture allows BAE Systems to combine existing communications systems such as Link 16 and surface-to-air data links, situational awareness systems such as the US Army’s Force XXI Battle Command Brigade and Below, and combat identification systems such as radio-based combat identification and battlefield target identification devices into a single identification friend or foe capability.

Eric Hansen, business development manager for BAE Systems in Greenlawn, New York, said: ‘The sharing of information from multiple systems is the essence of net-centric operations.

‘This is an affordable option because it uses existing equipment and requires no modifications to the aircraft’s existing software or radios, which can take years and millions of dollars to coordinate and certify.’