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Partner Force Identification Friend or Foe


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Materials, Sensors, Electronics 

OBJECTIVE: The objective of this topic is to develop an innovative, low cost, expendable means of identifying partner forces operating in combined formation with Special Operation or other US Forces. The ability to reliably identify friendly forces is critical to reducing the possibility of fratricide. 

DESCRIPTION: Currently there is difficulty identifying mounted and dismounted partner forces in the combined air and ground battlespace during both day and night operations, and in all weather conditions. These operations may occur in proximity of hostile forces equipped with augmented night vision capability. Potential solutions addressing this problem should be easy to operate with minimal training. Additionally, based on the need to transfer or give this equipment to partner forces in significant quantities, individual devices must be low cost and contain technology that can be transferable to the partner force. The solution must be detectable by existing Special Operations Forces, US military and Coalition observation and targeting systems, both ground and aerial, out to a tactically relevant range (1 kilometer – threshold; 4 kilometers – objective), be compatible with a standard and non-standard military uniforms, soldier carried equipment, and vehicles. System should be operable for 8 hours without charging or battery change. The technology should be reverse compatible with existing equipment for both US and Coalition forces. In addition this technology should be able to work in all weather and all environments from urban to snow to highly cluttered desert floors equatorial summer or on vegetation that may have moisture. Minimum weight, small form factor, simplicity, and durability are desirable characteristics. 

PHASE I: Conduct a feasibility study to assess what is in the art of the possible that satisfies the requirements specified in the above paragraph entitled “Description.” As a part of this feasibility study, the proposers shall address viable system concepts that provide an infrared signature in bands visible to existing US Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps aviation platform-mounted and ground based targeting sensors during all-weather, day, and night conditions. The objective of this USSOCOM Phase I SBIR effort is to conduct and document the results of a thorough feasibility study to investigate what is in the art of the possible within the given trade space that will deliver the described technology. The feasibility study should investigate all known options that meet or exceed the minimum performance parameters specified in this write up. It should also address the risks and potential payoffs of the innovative technology options that are investigated and recommend the option that best achieves the objective of this technology pursuit. The funds obligated on the resulting Phase I SBIR contracts are to be used for the sole purpose of conducting a thorough feasibility study using scientific experiments and laboratory studies as necessary. Operational prototypes will not be developed with USSOCOM SBIR funds during Phase I feasibility studies. Operational prototypes developed with other than SBIR funds that are provided at the end of Phase I feasibility studies will not be considered in deciding what firm(s) will be selected for Phase II. 

PHASE II: Develop, install, and demonstrate a prototype system determined to be the most feasible solution during the Phase I feasibility study for a Partner Force Identification Friend or Foe system concept. 

PHASE III: This system could be used in a broad range of military applications. Additional applications include US law enforcement, US border patrol, search and rescue of persons by US first responders in local / state / or federal capacity. 



2:  "Joint Publications 3-09 - Joint Fire Support", 12 December, 2014


4:  Close Air Support videos, various dates


6:  "Army Field Manual 3-21.31

7:  Aviation Support of Ground Operations"

8:  13 March, 2001

KEYWORDS: Daytime Marker, Joint Terminal Attack Controller, JTAC, Reconnaissance And Surveillance, R&S, Fires, Lasers, Pointers 


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