Blue Force Tracking (BFT) Battle Management System


EADS has equipped Allied forces in the Balkans with an Interim Forces Tracking System (IFTS), which monitors the position of all units operated under Allied forces command in Kosovo and the Balkans (Bosnia Herzegovina and the former Yugoslavian republic of Macedonia). Apat from unit tracking, the system facilitates emergency messaging and establishment of real-time common situational picture for all levels of command. EADS Defence and Communications Systems is supplying the system under a €13 million contract with NATO Consultation Command and Control Agency (NC3A). This deployment will enable NATO to field-test the system which is destined to equip all units under NATO command in its theatres of operation.

The central server is installed at the KFOR command post in Pristina. This server can track up to 600 vehicles equipped with rugged data terminals, transmitting GPS locations over secured TETRAPOL radio channels. The TETRAPOL network first deployed in year 2000 already covers over 90% of the Kosovo area of operation. To support BFT, the network will undergo significant enhancements, including the introduction of data transmission functions, and an increased number of communication channels.

The information system is based on Imp@ct, a derivative of the SIR (System d’Information Régimentaire) already deployed by the French Army. Imp@ct enables a vehicle to transmit and receive geographical location of vehicles in their vicinity, as well as receiving geographical tactical information such as prohibited or dangerous zones, as well as free-text and form-based messages.

The system generates specific displays for different levels of command, including HQ, command and vehicle levels. The system uses PCs at headquarter level, touch-screen terminals for vehicular applications and PDAs for dismounted users. At HQ, BFT provides monitoring of all vehicle’s locations over a large area (operation theater) map. At the brigade or battalion command level, the system generates the relevant subsets of the HQ view, focusing on the local area of operation, utilizing larger scale maps. At the vehicle level, the system provides a local, vehicle centered view of the immediate area, showing neighboring vehicles. The system supports several messaging standards, including FRAGOs, SITREP and can rapidly generate alerts indicating accidents, attacks and other emergencies.

BFT supports a wide range of communications means supported by QoS policies to ensure rapid delivery of high priority transmissions. The network is controlled by buit-in switch capable of integrating tactical VHF communications, as well as satellite communications, commercial networks including PMR and COTS based networks such as WiFi, WiMAX etc. The system can utilize secured communications with “over the air” key management service. Each unit can be deactivated or “killed” by remote control, denying access by unauthorized users to network resources or classified data stored on captured units.