The Effects of Degraded Vision and Automatic Combat Identification Reliability on Infantry Friendly Fire Engagements
Kogler, Timothy Michael
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Fratricide is one of the most devastating consequences of any military conflict. Target identification failures have been identified as the last link in a chain of mistakes that can lead to fratricide. Other links include weapon and equipment malfunctions, command, control, and communication failures, navigation failures, fire discipline failures, and situation awareness failures. This research examined the effects of degraded vision and combat identification reliability on the time-stressed decision of a dismounted infantryman to engage friendly or threat targets. Twelve soldiers with the Military Occupational Specialty 95B (Military Police) participated in several live-fire scenarios while wearing goggles with various levels of transmissivity and shooting an M16A2 containing a combat identification system operating at 100% and 60% reliability. As expected, there was a significant main effect of Transmissivity Level [F(2, 22) = 8.168, p = 0.002] and Combat Identification Reliability [F(2, 22) = 38.467, p < 0.001] and a significant interaction effect of Transmissivity Level x Combat Identification Reliability [F(4, 44) = 3.111, p = 0.024] on the Number of Friendly Targets engaged. The main effects of Transmissivity Level and Combat Identification Reliability and their interaction effect on the Number of Missed Threat Targets were nonsignificant. An unexpected result was no practical increase in Mean Reaction Time using a combat identification system on the M16A2. As technology continues to improve the lethality of military weapon systems, a corresponding increase in target identification is required to avoid friendly fire causalities. Designers of future combat identification systems for the dismounted force will need to focus on operational reliability and ease of use to maximize the system benefits.
- Masters Theses