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Volume 458: debated on Thursday 15 March 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what assessment his Department has made of the potential cost of UK armed forces taking part in the Blue Force Tracker programme; (126182)

(2) what funding he plans to allocate to the Blue Force Tracker programme being developed by the United States military.

Free standing Blue Force tracking systems are available largely off the shelf using US based technology and are deployed on operations in Iraq and Afghanistan to supplement the initial capability provided by Bowman ComBAT (Common Battlefield Application Toolset), Infrastructure and Platform Battlefield Information System Application (CIP). In the longer term we are looking mainly to more advanced versions of Bowman CIP and to Tactical Data Links to provide positional information. The joint US-UK Coalition Blue Force Situational Awareness demonstrator is helping to develop ways of exchanging data between Bowman CIP and US Blue Force tracking systems. It is too early to say what the resource implications would be.