Blue Force Tracking for Dismounted Soldiers – Experiments to Evaluate its Effects on Soldier Performance


  1. Ho, G.
  2. Tombu, M.
  3. Hollands, J.
  4. Ueno, K.
  5. Lamb, M.
  6. Pavlovic, N.
Corporate Authors
Defence Research and Development Canada, Toronto Research Centre , Toronto ON (CAN)
Today’s Blue Force Tracking (BFT) systems use Global Positioning System (GPS) to track individual soldiers. In two experiments, we investigated the effects of BFT on soldier performance using a first-person computer simulation. In Experiment 1, 36 participants led a section to locate and support another force under enemy contact. They did the task with a Two Dimensional (2D) map with Accurate BFT, Inaccurate BFT, or No BFT. The results showed that when using BFT, soldiers were faster at engaging the enemy but other performance variables were not significant. They also used their BFT map more frequently compared to the No BFT condition. The inaccurate BFT did not negatively affect performance. In Experiment 2, participants led a firebase in similar hasty attack missions. In each mission, a unique event could affect the decision to attack. Participants used no BFT, a 2D map with BFT, or three different augmented reality displays. The BFT again could have 100% signal accuracy or some inaccuracy. The results showed that having BFT supported more accurate event detection and marginally faster event detection times. An accurate BFT also resulted in faster attack decisions in some conditions. However, this did not translate to more accurate decisions. BFT accuracy did not affect participants’ ability to accurately locate and map blue force positions, but they had more confidence in their ability with accurate BFT systems. There was no additional benefit for augmented reality BFT

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Soldier System;Network-Enabled Soldier;Human/Soldier Performance
Report Number
DRDC-RDDC-2018-R234 — Scientific Report
Date of publication
01 Jan 2019
Number of Pages
Electronic Document(PDF)

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