BAE and Thales design new Army ID system

BAE Systems Inc. and its partner Thales North America Inc. will collaborate on designing combat identification solutions for the Army under a $3.3 million contract.

The contract from the Army Communications-Electronics Life Cycle Management Command calls for the companies to provide identification solutions for ground combat and support vehicles to minimize the risk of fratricide in battle, commonly referred to as friendly fire.

The companies will study how millimeter-wave combat identification systems can address issues related to affordability, information security and platform integration.

The contract covers the program’s risk-reduction phase, which focuses on ground-to-ground combat identification between platforms. The program specifies a NATO-standard all-weather, millimeter-wave interrogate-and-respond system for use on U.S. fighting vehicles to signal the presence of friendly troops.

The system must be day-and-night capable and not affected by camouflage or battlefield obscurants.

The contract was awarded as part of the Joint Cooperative Target Identification-Ground program, an effort to develop a low-cost target-identification capability for the Army and Marine Corps, BAE officials said.

“BAE Systems and Thales are working together to develop a systems approach that combines Thales’ expertise in combat identification equipment and BAE Systems’ expertise in platform integration and network-centric combat identification capabilities,” said Paul Markwardt, vice president of identification and surveillance at BAE Systems.

BAE Systems is the lead contractor in the partnership with Thales, which began in 2006.

BAE Systems, of Rockville, Md., ranks No. 12 on Washington Technology’s 2008 Top 100 list of the largest federal prime government contractors. Thales North America, of Alexandria, Va., ranks No. 43 on the list.

About the Author

David Hubler is the former print managing editor for GCN and senior editor for Washington Technology. He is freelance writer living in Annandale, Va.

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