A combat identification system developed by Cubic Defense Applications, the defence systems business of Cubic Corporation has exceeded expectations during a US and coalition forces assessment of technologies designed to reduce “friendly fire” casualties and increase situational awareness.
Cubic’s DCID-TALON, an acronym for Dismounted Combat ID with Target Location & Navigation, went through several tough tests during Exercise Bold Quest 2011, held September 8-22 at Camp Atterbury, Indiana. The multifunction technology was tested in sun, rain, smoke, haze, through trees and windows and at a distance. It was tested on moving soldiers who were walking, riding in vehicles, and engaging in simulated dry-fire and live-fire combat scenarios.
“DCID-TALON has generated interest in US military circles because it integrates multiple functions, including both Combat ID and improved situational awareness, within the combat scope familiar to ground forces without adding weight or requiring troops to carry and learn a complex new technology,” said Brad Feldmann, President of Cubic Defense Applications. “The Bold Quest 2011 demonstration showed that DCID-TALON merits serious study as a potential solution to the problem of fratricide for the US and its allies.”
DCID-TALON consists of a combat rifle scope integrated with multiple sensors plus an invisible two-way optical communications link to instantly identify friendly forces and determine target grid coordinates, which are displayed within the sight view of the scope. The modular, small, lightweight, power-efficient package has operational ranges from a few meters to far beyond the effective range of the weapon.
The multifunction scope works with optical tags worn by individual dismounted soldiers. In a combat ID scenario, a soldier encountering an unknown figure places the target in his cross hairs and simply presses a switch to interrogate the object. If the object is a “friendly” equipped with optical tags, the shooter’s encoded laser message is reflected off the object’s tags and returned together with a new “friend” ID code. The word “FRIEND” then flashes in the scope’s display. If the target has no tags, the scope reads “?” In either case, the target’s range, azimuth and grid location is shown to the shooter to increase battlefield situational awareness.
The all-optical system can also be configured for information-sharing. During the demonstration, a data link provided dismounted soldier data from DCID-TALON to a government server for enhanced situational awareness. In one test, data from Cubic’s system was also sent to an AWACS aircraft circling overhead within seconds. In addition, Cubic provided a real-time display of target pairings overlaid on Google maps.
Combat infantry veterans from the Indiana National Guard who just returned from Afghanistan and representatives from the US Army, US Marine Corps and allied armies took turns looking through the DCID-TALON scope and were favorably impressed with the system’s capability. The multifunction technology is easy to use and has the potential to embed the functions of MILES laser engagement systems so it can be used in both training and tactical environments.
“Several soldiers asked to keep the scopes. There can be no finer compliment from combat veterans,” said Steve Sampson, Vice President of Advanced Programs for Cubic Defense Applications.