Army to test force identification

U.S. Joint Forces Command today announced it will test several soldier-to-soldier friendly force identification technologies at an infantry demonstration in September at Fort Benning, Ga.

The Dismounted Soldier Identification Device Demonstration will involve American and allied infantry who will test several identification systems. The demonstration will include day and night operations at Benning's training facility for military operations in urban terrain.

U.S. Army infantry, Marines and Canadian infantry will take part in the test.

Fratricide has long been a curse of the battlefield as the so-called "fog-of-war" has led to troops inadvertently killing their own. While many instances of "friendly fire" deaths in the recent wars in Iraq have involved either aircraft or armored vehicles, dismounted soldiers have never had the protection of tracking devices that identify "blue" — or friendly — forces.

The demonstration is part of a coalition combat identification advanced concept technology exercise, a multiyear project aimed at accelerating the use of interoperable combat identification systems.

In July, the Army announced it would field test 100 handheld devices that give commanders and soldiers a picture of the battlefield, following the devices' success on vehicles in Iraq.

The handheld units will provide access to the Army's Force XXI Battle Command, Brigade and Below (FBCB2) system, which displays a map or aerial photo of the area in which a commander needs to move. The system, linked to a command post through satellite, provides location information, chat capabilities and route mapping that can be shared with the entire command.

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