UK troops sheltered from friendly fire by £3m tech

Combat Identification Server in place by 2010

Combat Identification Server in place by 2010

UK troops are to be protected against friendly fire by a £3m system that tracks the location of UK forces.

The Combat Identification Server (Cids) will provide UK pilots and military commanders with a "near real-time" picture of the whereabouts of ground troops and vehicles.

The system is due to be in place by 2010 and is being provided by defence contractors General Dynamics, QinetiQ and Rockwell Collins. Public Sector

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As well as preventing the UK from accidentally hitting its own forces, the server and the wider Joint Data Network Combat Identification Server Technical Demonstrator system will also help co-ordinate attacks between land and air forces.

The Cids will pull together location data from more than 15 different networks, including GPS feeds from within the Bowman radio and data network used across the UK's armed forces.

The Cids will feed data into the Joint Data Network Backbone programme, which links tactical networks that provides support information to coalition forces.

It has been two years since the Ministry of Defence was criticised by MPs for its failure to produce technology capable of protecting troops from friendly fire.