Only needed by the yanks surely ?
Due to their past actions.
Also, will the SAS give away their positions? Don't think so
The UK Ministry of Defence says it will commence trials of its "Combat ID Server" (CIDS) system from September, according to reports. The CIDS is intended to make it easier for people about to unleash heavy firepower to find out if there are any British troops in their gunsights, so helping to reduce so-called "blue on blue" …
Yes, British forces never fire at their own side. Our boys are much better trained than those trigger happy, gun loving cowboys...
Btw, I hate it when life and death decisions, made in a split second under more stress than most of us will ever experience, are dissected by the tabloid press and other armchair warriors.
Unfortunately mistakes of this kind have always and will always be made in these situations.
Call me paranoid (for I am) but, could this whole system if accessed by the *wrong* people (hackers for the other side) just turn into a massive database of where the bad guys should drop their ordinance?
Please tell me this isnt going to be running crap windows servers desgined by EDS and chums (like the DII mess) maintained by squaddies qualified for the role in the field because they had a facebook account once in civvy street...
This system is designed to work based on radios that die (http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/02/05/army_tech_obsolete/page2.html) connecting to a GPS system that is supposed to die (http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/05/21/gao_predicts_gps_failure/) controlled by people who can't use a payroll system (http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/12/10/mod_pay_nightmare/).
CIDS - providing no real protection from the possibility of being murdered by your own army
Given the astonishing degree of supine inactivity (even by MoD standards) over the last twenty years in addressing the fratricide problem, I suppose we must raise half a cheer for the news that someone is trying to do something about it. However, one is less enthusiastic when one observes that the meaning of the term "Combat ID" -- which one might naturally assume to mean a system such as an IFF interrogator/transponder -- is being cunningly stretched to include the mere transmission of position reporting data (which is usually titivated up to sound more impressive by calling it "situational awareness", which it isn't, SA is something that happens in people's heads).
It seems tolerably obvious that this isn't going to work well enough to eliminate fratricide, and I strongly doubt that it will achieve any worthwhile reduction. Points about the frequency of updates and relaibility of the kit have already been made, and we know from historical analysis that Reason's "Swiss cheese" model of accidents applies very well to fratricide -- incidents occur when a series of low-probability conditions apply all at once, like holes lining up in separate laters of Swiss cheese. Keeping all this data in centralised databases won't help, either -- the answer to the challenge "Who goes there?" should not be "Please check with central records". The whole thing smacks of mindless technolatry, and using a technical fix to address a human problem -- it doesn't matter what the question is, the answer is always a database.
More unfortuately still, it seems that the motivation for this (poorly conceived, badly delayed) work is not to protect the lives of troops at all, but to improve "overall operational effectiveness" by allowing Captain Mudmover (or Sergeant UAVman) to drop ordnance more freely about the place without going through all those dreadful deconfliction procedures. It may indeed prove to be a great operational benefit to allow us to bomb Afghan wedding parties closer to our own FLOT, but I beg leave to doubt it. And the psychological principle of compensating reductions almost certainly means that idiot technophiles will lean on the technology in preference to doing their own thinking, and friendlies will continue to get blatted because they didn't show up as an icon on the blue picture screen.
Just so long as the defence research establishment remains content to conduct almost no fundamental research on the underlying causes of fratricide, the counsel of despair "it's always happened and it always will" will remain true. It's not that we couldn't do anything about it; it's just that MoD, as a matter of policy, has chosen for a couple of decades not to.
All the best,