Blue is good, Army says

Blue is good, Army says

The Army's Blue Force Tracking system has been so successful in Iraq and Afghanistan that nearly 40,000 more of the systems will be in use by 2008, officials said this week.

About 1,200 BFT vehicle and troop tracking systems were installed in vehicles, command posts and helicopters during the two conflicts. BFT tracks allied and enemy forces by satellite, showing troop locations on monitors. Friendly forces appear on a map in blue and enemy forces in red.

Work has begun to increase the count of deployed tracking systems'not only BFT but also the Force XXI Battle Command Brigade-and-Below System and the Commander's Digital Assistant. FBCB2 hardware runs the Solaris operating system, as BFT does, but it has a ground radio instead of BFT's satellite antenna. The Commander's Digital Assistant is a handheld version of BFT.

'When we talked to soldiers, many said they needed it installed in higher densities at the company level so that platoon leaders, first sergeants, support units and other key players would have better battlefield awareness,' said BFT product manager Lt. Col. John Bullington in an Army statement.

The Army also wants to transmit Blue Force data to Air Force communications systems to give pilots an up-to-date view of ground troops.

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