A computer system that tracks friendly and enemy forces and pinpoints hazards like minefields on video game-like touch screens got its first use in battle. Commanders are hoping it can cut down on friendly fire deaths. The Army’s 4th Infantry Division is guided by a sophisticated computer network that tracked the division’s 1st Brigade during a skirmish Wednesday for the Taji air base north of Baghdad. The computer network is known as Force 21 Battle Command Brigade and Below, and works as a battlefield intranet that keeps track of fast-moving combat vehicles. The system’s global positioning satellite navigation system also warns whenever a vehicle strays from its planned path. Proponents say such systems could prevent tragedies like the March 23 ambush deaths of nine soldiers from the 507th Maintenance Company after their convoy took a wrong turn in southern Iraq. Full Story
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