Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Sandia Sensor Has Potential To Help U.S. Military Eliminate 'Friendly Fire' During Combat

Date:
March 11, 2004
Source:
Sandia National Laboratories
Summary:
A device to help eliminate friendly fire during military combat has been created by engineers at the National Nuclear Security Administration's Sandia National Laboratories.

Lars Wells, Sandia engineer, displays a prototype of the radar tag sensor.
Credit: Photo by Randy Montoya

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - A device to help eliminate friendly fire during military combat has been created by engineers at the National Nuclear Security Administration's Sandia National Laboratories.

Related Articles


Building on more than 10 years of research and development, Sandia engineers have created a radar tag sensor that is mounted on military vehicles and is recognizable to an attack aircraft as a "friendly." The device, tracked via aircraft radar, can be used to identify both U.S. and coalition forces during combat to avoid fratricide. During war, fratricide is the act of killing one's own soldiers.

Sandia researcher Lars Wells and a team of lab engineers have completed numerous tests and identified partners and potential customers for the sensor, which will be tested by the U.S. Army this fall.

The researchers have shown the sensor can work with multiple radars and multiple aircraft, Wells said.

"It is mature enough to consider as a fratricide and situational-awareness solution now and for the long term," he said.

Radar echoes

The sensor, dubbed by the Army as "Athena" - protector of the troops - is not a radio transmitter that broadcasts a signal for the aircraft to receive. Instead, the sensor creates synthetic radar echoes, so that the radar picks up the sensor signal in the same way it picks up radar echoes from tanks, trucks, or other objects.

In general, the radar transmits a pulse of energy then looks for the reflections of that energy from objects on the ground. The tag sees the radar's transmitted pulse and sends it back to the radar, except it adds a little bit of data to the reflection (or echo).

As the radar picks up (or receives) reflections from the ground, it recognizes the tag's unique data signal and places an icon on the pilot's screen to alert him. The project has good system integration between tag and radar, Wells said, which is key to making it usable.

"Generally the tag will be nearly as accurate in locating a moving tag as it would be in locating any other moving object," he said.

Eliminating fratricide

According to the Department of Defense, 24 percent of the 146 American battle deaths during Operation Desert Storm were by friendly fire. A further 15 percent of the 480 wounded were also by friendly fire. Historically, fratricide accounts for 10-15 percent of wartime casualties.

"Blue-on-blue" incidents have long been a problem during war, Wells said. "Developing the capability to identify friendly vehicles in battle will bring about a great reduction of fratricide."

The sensor can also assist battlefield situational awareness, he said.

"Many times during combat the military has to pull back from an attack plan because they don't know who is on ground," he said.

Wells said a future path of the project is to include tags on every soldier.

Keeping costs down

Sandia researcher Mike Murphy said one way of keeping costs down is by making the tag work easily with existing systems.

"The aim of affordability is a big factor of the project," Murphy said. "By adding tagging to existing radars, we don't need to build new equipment for the aircraft."

Costs can also be kept to a minimum by partnering with industry and with various military agencies.

"Our industrial partners will be able to take this technology and drive the cost down quickly so that it is affordable for every Army vehicle and Air Force fighter jet," Murphy said.

Technological support

Recent underlying development has been supported by DOE's Nonproliferation Office, which has an eye toward using the technology to track proliferants. In fact, this application was how Sandia started to create what became Athena, said Wells.

The current project is being sponsored by the Army's Communication Electronics Research, Development, and Engineering Center (CERDEC), which is staging a large exercise this fall that will demonstrate the tag system for high-ranking officers and regular soldiers alike. Sandia's radar tag is one of a number of technologies being evaluated by the U.S. military to help reduce fratricide and improve situational awareness.

"Sandia was the only developer that could ready a tag to support their short deadline," said Sandia project leader Rick Ormesher. "We were able to do an initial demonstration for the Army in January 2003 with only a few months worth of effort."

The success of that initial demonstration helped lead to the current effort, said Ormesher.

"We are really excited about the prospect of deploying this technology and seeing it make an impact," said Wells.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Sandia National Laboratories. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Sandia National Laboratories. "Sandia Sensor Has Potential To Help U.S. Military Eliminate 'Friendly Fire' During Combat." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 March 2004. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/03/040311071943.htm>.
Sandia National Laboratories. (2004, March 11). Sandia Sensor Has Potential To Help U.S. Military Eliminate 'Friendly Fire' During Combat. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/03/040311071943.htm
Sandia National Laboratories. "Sandia Sensor Has Potential To Help U.S. Military Eliminate 'Friendly Fire' During Combat." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/03/040311071943.htm (accessed December 20, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Matter & Energy News

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Building Google Into Cars

Building Google Into Cars

Reuters - Business Video Online (Dec. 19, 2014) Google's next Android version could become the standard that'll power your vehicle's entertainment and navigation features, Reuters has learned. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
AP Review: Nikon D750 and GoPro Hero 4

AP Review: Nikon D750 and GoPro Hero 4

AP (Dec. 19, 2014) What to buy an experienced photographer or video shooter? There is some strong gear on the market from Nikon and GoPro. The AP's Ron Harris takes a closer look. (Dec. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Double-Amputee Becomes First To Move Two Prosthetic Arms With His Mind

Double-Amputee Becomes First To Move Two Prosthetic Arms With His Mind

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) A double-amputee makes history by becoming the first person to wear and operate two prosthetic arms using only his mind. Jen Markham has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Dec. 18, 2014) The U.S. Navy unveils an underwater device that mimics the movement of a fish. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins