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Armed Forces: Target Identification

Volume 693: debated on Monday 2 July 2007

asked Her Majesty’s Government:

Whether they have developed a strategy for the implementation of the combat identification policy and a timetabled plan for developing a credible target identification system; and [HL4325]

What assurance they have received from allies involved in the development of joint combat identification solutions that decisions on the system will be taken in a timely manner, with particular reference to the battlefield target identification system; and what financial investment the United Kingdom has made to date in developing the battlefield target identification system; and [HL4326]

What were the results of Exercise Urgent Quest held in September and October 2005; and what are the implications for the battlefield target identification system. [HL4327]

The department’s combat identification programme includes an implementation strategy. For the target identification element of capability, it is clear that no single system would address all the issues within the priority areas of ground-to-ground and air-to-ground engagements. Together with allies, we have therefore identified a range of potential target identification technologies. Credible target identification systems based on these interoperable technologies will be considered and timetabled plans developed as appropriate for approval at investment decision points.

We are working closely with allies to co-ordinate the fielding of interoperable national combat identification solutions, such as the battlefield target identification system (BTIS). Through NATO, we receive information about allies’ plans and we continue to press as necessary for timely decisions, although ultimately each nation’s planning process will determine outcomes.

To date, expenditure of some £11 million is attributable to the UK BTIS programme and associated risk-reduction work.

Exercise Urgent Quest in 2005 provided allies with the key information to enable decisions to be made on the selection of solutions for target identification requirements, including the UK’s BTIS programme. Moreover, it identified the technologies that should not be pursued as they were immature or lacked utility.