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HAS COMBAT ID RUN INTO PROBLEMS?

HAS COMBAT ID RUN INTO PROBLEMS?
By Julian Nettlefold, Editor, BATTLESPACE

03 Fr 06. We reported in BATTLESPACE UPDATE Vol.8 ISSUE 09, 03 March 2006, ‘Ministry of Defence progress in minimising friendly-fire incidents.’

The U.K. Ministry of Defence has made progress in minimising the risk to
UK Armed Forces from so-called ‘friendly-fire’ incidents, according to the National Audit Office (NAO) report ‘Progress in Combat Identification’. The NAO report says that, since 2002, the Ministry of Defence has made progress in £3.8bn of projects with combat identification elements; in developing new training, tactics and procedures; in collecting data; in implementing new training courses and simulations; and in leading international collaboration. The NAO report highlights the good progress made by the Ministry of Defence on major equipment systems that enable combat identification; including the ASTOR surveillance system, the Friend or Foe air identification system and other systems to improve situational awareness on land, in the air and at sea.

Extracts from the Report suggest the complexity of the process and whether the whole issue of Combat ID can be obtained unless all forces involved comply with the NATO Stanag Regulations. We had expected, as had SMI, that the Report on Operation Urgent Quest would be available now. BATTLESPACE has had to delay its Special Issue on Combat ID due to industry reluctance to make statements prior to the Report on Urgent Quest and SMI have had to shelve is Conference on Combat ID. This suggests that industry is not ready to talk about the outcome of Urgent Quest and that more development is required to make the systems work.

On 28th September 2005, BATTLESPACE Editor Julian Nettlefold attended the Media day for Operation Urgent Quest, the military exercise to test and examine various proposals relating to the development and fielding of a co-alition Combat ID system. The international participation in this exercise brings together: 800 military personnel from 15 ground and aviation units representing 9
nations:

200 civilian technical and analytical support personnel
94 ground combat vehicles
9 fixed wing aircraft; 3 rotary wing aircraft
130 CCID systems from 10 technical programs sponsored by 5 nations

The CCID ACTD is a key part of the process to select a technology that will become the core of cooperative battlefield target identification systems for NATO and non-NATO allies. Amongst the Nations taking part and with an interest in this programme are Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Italy, Sweden, USA and the UK.

Exercise Urgent Quest was the culminating operational demonstration of the Coalition Combat Identification Advanced Concept Technology Demonstration (CCID ACTD). The United States Joint Forces Command (USJFCOM) is the US operational sponsor and is responsible for developing the Military Utility Assessment (MUA) of the ACTD’s proposed technical solutions along with the associated Tactics. JFCOM has teamed with Headquarters Supreme Allied Command Transformation and the United Kingdom, as the host nation, to conduct this event. For the Media Advisory, click here.

CCID is a Family of Systems rather than a single technology. Accordingly, a handbook covering the Technologies, Techniques and Procedures involved has been developed and distributed to all members of the Demonstration Force. These govern the demanding tactical scenarios in which the CCID ACTD will be conducted in pursuit of the MUA goal and objectives. The use of a fully instrumented range, provided by UK, completed the CCID ACTD’s ability to make a truly comprehensive and objective assessment.

Aim

In order to fully assess the military utility of these CID solutions, the CCID ACTD demonstrated advanced technologies as employed by allied warfighters conducting combined operations under the most realistic and challenging field conditions achievable. This Military Utility Assessment (M

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