The End of Friendly Fire?

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The Virginian Pilot is reporting today that the Joint Forces Command has undertaken a new effort to develop technology to help troops navigate in urban environments. According to the article "the aim is to develop a hybrid tracking system using various navigation sensors and radio waves that could be used when GPS isn't available, such as inside buildings or underground in tunnels or in caves."

It would be developed under an agreement signed this week by the Joint Forces Command and defense contractor L-3 Communications' Interstate Electronics Corp.

The plan is to get several prototypes to the Marine Corps for testing by May 2008. The effort has two purposes -- to help field commanders keep track of individual troops as they carry out missions and to allow Soldiers to monitor their own locations. Jim Benson, the director of advanced technology for the Anaheim, Calif.-based Interstate Electronics said it could help eliminate "friendly fire" deaths, citing the highly publicized case involving Pat Tillman, an Army Ranger killed in Afghanistan by fellow Soldiers.

Read more here.

-- Ward

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