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Combat Identification Panels

The Current Quick Fix Combat Identification Program began in December 1992 when Captain David Jessup, 4th Infantry Division (M), submitted a suggestion through the Army Ideas for Excellence Program (AIEP) to use thermal tape for combat identification. As a result of Captain Jessup's suggestion, the AMC Special Assistant for Combat Identification (SACID) commenced with technical and field testing to determine the utility of thermal tape in Combat ID for combat and combat support ground vehicles. In coordination with platform Program Managers, TRADOC, TECOM and AMSAA, a thermal tape/panel design was selected for each weapon platform that provided performance out to the maximum effective range of currently fielded direct fire weapons.

The Combat Identification Panel has one primary component - a flat or venetian style panel approximately (1/8" thick x 24" high x 30" long) covered with a low emissivity thermal tape. The panels are installed flat against the vehicles' exterior shell (with velcro) or placed insided a bracket adapted to hang on the vehicles exterior. CIPs can be mounted in an operational, thermal tape out, or reversed to a nonoperational, Chemical Agent Resistant Coating (CARC) paint side out, mode.

When viewed through FLIR thermal sensors, the CIP shows up as a contrasting cold spot on the hot target image. In the engagement process, a gunner would use this contrast to determine if the targeted vehicle is friendly or unknown. Tests show that the use of CIPs serviceability affect the image gunners see through their thermal sights. The CIP is mounted to provide all aspect coverage, however, terrain features, such as trees and other vegetation, proper defilade firing positions, and other obstacles will break up the thermal image of any vehicle.

A total of 5,824 thermal panel sets were fielded by 2QFY96. Each vehicle has from three to five panels and each panel has its own part number and National Stock Number (NSN). Each vehicle has a overall set NSN for the green or tan vehicle configuration. Combat identification panels will be produced to meet contingency unit requirements. The XVIII Airborne Corps has established the fielding priority and therefore, identification panel production will be in accordance with that priority, i.e., Priority one - One brigade set for 1st Cavalry Division, Priority two - 24th Infantry Division (M) , Priority three - 82nd Airborne Division, Priority four - 101st Airborne Division, Priority five - remainder of 1st Cavalry Division, Priority six - 10th Mountain Division, Priority seven - 3rd Armored Cavalry Division.


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