Uplinking of friendly force positions for display in a fighter cockpit has been demonstrated by the US Air Force. Blue Force tracking to avoid fratricide on close air-support missions, developed under the special-operations forces signals training and rehearsal system, could be deployed quickly to Iraq.

The demonstration at Eglin AFB, Florida involved a Boeing F-15E, but the cockpit display of Blue Force tracks is planned for USAF Fairchild A-10s, Lockheed Martin F-16s and AC-130 gunships, as well as US Navy and Marine Corps Boeing F/A-18s tasked with close support of ground forces.

The system takes data from the GPS-based Blue Force trackers carried by special-operations teams and translates them to Link 16 for uplink to the aircraft. When a ground team designates a target using GPS co-ordinates, this appears on the display, showing its position relative to friendly forces.

"There are different flavours of Blue Force tracking," says Col David Votipka, commander of the USAF Agency for Modelling and Simulation. "The data translator takes the different protocols and waveforms and translates it to Link 16."

Source: Flight International