Coalition Exercise Focused on Improving Combat Identification
August 27, 2007
By Casey Bain
EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. (Army News Service, Sept. 4, 2007) - U.S. Joint Forces Command's Joint Fires Integration and Interoperability Team will deploy with an eight-nation coalition to Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., and the National Training Center at Fort Irwin Calif., Sept. 7-19 to assess technologies designed to reduce friendly fire incidents and enhance combat effectiveness.
"This demonstration is crucial because it will allow us to assess emerging non-cooperative target identification technologies in a realistic operational environment," said Jim MacDonald, JFIIT senior analyst for the demonstration. "If these technologies are proven effective, they could be fielded to our forces and coalition partners in the near future, and could significantly enhance our ability to positively identify targets on the battlefield."
JFIIT, USJFCOM and its partners will test Coalition Combat Identification technologies during an operational demonstration known as Bold Quest. Participating nations include Australia, Belgium, Canada, France Germany, Netherlands, Sweden, United Kingdom, United States and NATO.
"One of our goals is to resolve some of the combat ID shortfalls that we've seen during Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan," said Marine Corps Maj. Eric Drown, JFIIT project lead at Bold Quest. "The great work done here by USJFCOM and our allies will help warfighters today and in the future by focusing our efforts on improving coalition combat identification capabilities. When you improve combat ID, you enhance overall combat effectiveness and reduce the potential of fratricide and collateral damage ... that's mission-essential to the warfighter, and that's why we're excited to be part of this important event."
All services will have forces participating in the exercise, to include the 4th Infantry Division from Fort Hood, Texas, and the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment located at Fort Irwin.
"We wanted to ensure we had representation from each service," said Army Lt. Col. Mark Rasins, JFIIT lead during the previous CCID ACTD exercise in October 2005. "USJFCOM and the coalition planners realize how important it is to include a comprehensive team for this crucial event. If you want to influence ongoing and future operations from a combat ID perspective, you've got to make the event joint and inclusive of our coalition partners."
Active-duty servicemembers will train on and assess the technologies during Bold Quest. "We think it's a fundamental requirement that you allow the actual men and women in uniform to train with this equipment in a challenging field environment ... and Bold Quest will do exactly that," said Mr. MacDonald. "We want to demonstrate the capability to share blue (friendly) force situational awareness information in an air-to-ground environment that will help the warfighter defeat any adversary, and come back home safely."
Two technologies that JFIIT will be focused on during Bold Quest are the Synthetic Aperture Radar-Aided Target Recognition and the Laser Target Imaging Program. The SAR-ATR is a software upgrade for the Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System and the LTIP is a software upgrade to current fighter advanced targeting pods.
(Casey Bain writes for the Joint Fires Integration Interoperability Team, U.S. Forces Command, Public Affairs.)