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11 Sep 03. Thales UK announced its team of preferred first tier sub-contractors for its Watchkeeper bid, during DSEi on Wednesday.

These are, Elbit Systems Limited providing the air vehicle element; LogicaCMG, digital battlefield integration; Cubic, datalinks; Marshall SV, vehicles and shelters and Vega, training.

Elbit UAVs have demonstrated more than 15000 hours of operations in hostile environments. LogicaCMG’s expertise in Command and Battle management brings a vital element to the bid.

Cubic has more than 25 years in the supply of data links for ISR programmes including ASTOR. Other members of the Thales team include QinetiQ, Supacat, and Praxis.

Alex Cresswell of Thales said that the formation of this team provided the MoD with a world class solution and access to a wealth of technology from across the world. The Thales solution allows for a long term approach allowing the introduction of new technologies and operational concepts through the life of the programme.

Thales also gave details of its Battlefield Identification Friend or Foe (BIFF)
for improved survivability, combat effectiveness and prevention of
friendly fire on the battlespace.

In response to the need to ensure the safety and security of both human and material assets on the battlefield, Thales Communications has developed the BIFF (Battlefield Identification Friend or Foe) product range, which comprises Combined Interrogator Transponder (CIT), Interrogator and Strap-on Transponder systems.

During the recent conflicts, close to 30% of losses sustained were due to friendly fire. With the BIFF, Thales offers an innovative range of custom battlefield identification solutions that can contribute to reduce the risk of friendly fire and significantly increase combat efficiency, particularly in coalition operations.

The BIFF will enable attacking platforms to interrogate detected targets, to establish their identity with a 98% confidence probability -friend in the event of a response, potential enemy in the absence of a response-and will enable potential targets to declare themselves as friendly.

The BIFF from Thales complies with STANAG 4579, drawn up jointly by France, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States, and is based on a Question/Answer process using millimeter wave technology in the Ka frequency band (33 to 40 GHz). Interoperability between the BIFF and BCIS (Battlefield Combat Identification System from Raytheon) was successfully demonstrated during the first round of laboratory tests held by Nato in July 2003 in the United States.

Through its BIFF development and production contracts and its contribution to NATO-led standardisation efforts, conducted by the Combat Identification Working Group (CIWG), Thales ranks among the world’s leading contractors in battlefield identification systems.

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