Thursday, April 01, 2004

"SENSOR: tag may combat 'friendly fire' incidents"
Fratricide-the act of killing one's own soldiers, also called "blue-on-blue" incidents-can now be largely prevented through the use of a radar tag sensor developed at Sandia National Laboratories (Albuquerque, N.M.), according to engineers there. "We think we can help prevent friendly fire incidents with our sensor, but there are still many hurdles to get over before they become a part of the U.S. military procurement cycle," said engineer Lars Wells, leader of the group that invented the device. In some recent conflicts, the casualties from "friendly fire" incidents have been higher than those from enemy fire. During a recent test of the radar tag sensor, the Sandia National Laboratories engineers showed that it can return a synthetic radar echo when targeted by radar from U.S. aircraft, thereby alerting the aircraft not to target that "friendly" position. Properly installed on all U.S. and coalition military vehicles and eventually on individual soldiers themselves, the device's inventors believe it can virtually eliminate friendly fire from aircraft (but not artillery) during combat. The sensor is slated to make its debut before U.S. Army procurement officials this fall.
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