The US Army has deployed its next-generation friendly force tracking system to provide soldiers with improved tactical communications while on the move.

More than 1,000 software-enhanced versions of the Force XXI battle command brigade-and-below / Blue Force tracking (FBCB2/BFT) system were fielded with five operational brigade combat teams through June.

The system, also known as joint capabilities release (JCR), provides soldiers in combat with a faster satellite network, secure data encryption and advanced mapping kits.

FBCB2 provides situational awareness and helps identify and locate allies by viewing blue icons on a computer screen inside their vehicle.

The system also allows locating and alerting other friendly units about improvised explosive devices (IED) and enemy locations with red icons on the same computer screens.

The JCR upgrades are part of the US Army network capability planned for 2011-2012, and PM FBCB2’s joint battle command-platform (JBC-P), will replace JCR in the capability set for 2013-2014.