UPDATED 12 September 2009

Colonel Arthur D. "Bull" Simons Night Vision Goggle and ID/Rank Helmet coverTM with Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) features


A 173rd Airborne Paratrooper after a parachute jump with a pathetic piece of 100 mile per hour tape (cheap dark green stuff at that) to try to prevent suspension lines from being entangled during door exit and to protect the NVG mount

Here a Soldier in Afghanistan reveals his square of glint tape attached to his kevlar helmet with 100 mph tape for identification, friend or foe (IFF) purposes.

Here's an officer's PASGT Kevlar helmet from the 4th ID (M) used in Iraq...note the back of the helmet glint square for IFF...

Soldiers also 100 mph tape over night vision goggle mounts when parachute jumping...should we meet these needs right by a protective flap of material with IFF square?

Here is an entire CH-47 Chinook heavy-lift helicopter load of infantry with the glint tape square on their helmet tops:

A recent Army report from Iraq combat [www.sftt.org/article06102003a.html] "Small Arms and Individual Equipment Lessons Learned" was gathered from 5 through 10 May 2003 from Soldiers serving in the Baghdad sector during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Comments came from Brigade Commanders down to riflemen. The following units were interviewed:

* HHC/1-187 IN, 101st ABN (5 MAY)
* 2d BCT, 82d ABN (6-7 and 10 MAY)
* 3-325 PIR (7 MAY)
* 2-325 PIR (7 MAY)
* 3-7 CAV (8 MAY)
* FSB (8 MAY)
* 1st BCT, 3 ID (9 MAY)
* 3-69 AR (9 MAY)

Combat Identification: Commanders expressed a need for thermal and IR recognition features for the uniform. The "bat wing" configuration for the helmet worked well because it was less prone to fall off. All Soldiers had a small patch of Velcro on their left sleeve for glint tape - we should consider adding this feature to future combat uniforms.

Another suggestion was to embed the recognition tape into the fabric of the helmet cover and uniform sleeve.

New ACU has provision for a blood type patch to be attached to the shoulder sleeve velcro

This suggestion was acted upon as part of the new Army Combat Uniform (ACU) which has velcro on the sleeves for the purpose of attaching IR reflective U.S. flags and 1" and 2" squares of glint tape, as well as a blood type patch. However, glint patches on the arms are not always visible to aircraft directly overhead, a helmet top IFF marking is still needed.

The current PASGT and MICH/ACH kevlar helmets have a night vision goggle (NVG) mount that hard attaches to their outside front using the center suspension screw and A-nut. Current SOP is for Paratroopers who may have parachute suspension lines get caught on the outside edges of the mount to 100 mph tape over the entire front area looking frankly pathetic, covering up name/rank for identification and not really doing much to protect the mount from damage when not in use. Once the tape is removed after a jump, the metal mount is exposed and unprotected during combat and field use. Taping and retaping over the NVG mount is NOT cheaper---a roll of 100 mph tape runs for about $7-10 and is hard to obtain from supply. G.I. Paratrooper Joe is going to jump several times with the mount taped over and remove it for field problems. In a very short period of time several dollars worth of tape per Soldier will have been thrown away--more than enough to pay for a permanent nylon material solution. Notice the Soldier in Afghanistan above with a piece of glint tape attached by yet more 100 mph tape!



1LT Mike Sparks, SSG Brian Heitman and SPC David Stage have with Bud Calkin of SKEDCO created the "Colonel Simons NVG mount/ID/Rank/IFF coverTM" to solve this problem inexpensively using existing camouflage covers. This equipment has been named in honor of Colonel Arthur D. "Bull" Simons for his pioneering work in night combat devices like occluded eye gunsights in preparation for the daring 1970 Son Tay prison raid.

Son Tay

Work is underway to incorporate a detachable netting so IFF features will still work while breaking up the helmet's outline by creating a lightfighter "rag top" for effective camouflage. The Simons NVG mount/ID/IFF rank coverTM not only covers up the metal mount's sharp edges for parachute jumps, it covers and protects it from bumps, offers a piece of glint, No Power Thermal Tape (NPTT) or luminous "cateye" tape for Identification, Friend or Foe (IFF) from AC-130 Spectre and other attack aircraft, and displays last name and rank for command and control in garrison and the field in a neat appearance.

The Simons NVG CoverTM Before Being Attached to the Helmet Cover


IFF Flap closed:

IFF Flap being opened:

The photos below illustrate how it works. All units have to do is sew the Simons coverTM to existing helmet covers locally or send them in to SKEDCO. We name it after Colonel Simons for his pioneering work on weapons night sights done for the epic night Son Tay POW rescue mission which he personally led.

Personal Armor System Ground Troops (PASGT) Kevlar Helmet

Cover closed shows rank and last name.

Cover opens up to strips of velcro

A small "window" opens to display omni-glow luminous, glint or no-power thermal tape (NPTT) for attack aircraft identification, friend or foe (IFF).


Luminous tape

Mike Turner, Western Hemisphere Manager
96 Windsor Street
W. Springfield, MA 01089
(800) 762-7548 Co HQs
(719) 282-2929 Mike Turner
(719) 338-3539 Cell
(719) 282-2930 FAX
(413) 737-7548 Co FAX


Night Vision Equipment Company
POB 266
Emmaus, PA 18049-0266
(610) 391-9101 FAX: 9220




The tape is available in TAN or Green. It is available from your depot supply by NSN:

Green is NSN 9905-01-390-7410
TAN is NSN 9905-01-392-2928

Both are 3.75 inches wide by 150 feet long.

Alternatively you can order from Opticoat Associates Inc: price is $1.45/SF, or about $68/roll

POC: Dave Smith/Opticoat Associates Inc. 10 Kidder Rd.
Chelmsford, MA 01824
PHONE: 978-250-8115
FAX: 978-250-1938
EMAIL: madavids@tiac.net

The cover is out of the way for the NVG bracket to clip to the hard mount

Another view of the NVG bracket on the mount


Frontal view

Advanced Combat Helmet (original SF designation: MICH) ACH Helmet

Frontal View Closed

Open close-up

Another view of IFF tab opened

For ordering details contact Bud Calkin of SKEDCO: skedco@skedco.com

POB 230487
Portland, OR 97281
(503) 639-2119
FAX: -4538

Prism Smart IFF Infared Marker Light for Fire & Maneuver, Close & Maneuver Air Support and Resupply

In WW2, U.S. Army officers had their M1 helmet's rear painted with a vertical white stripe and Non-Commissioned Officers (NCOs) or "non-coms" had a horizontal stripe so those they were leading FROM THE FRONT could identify them and follow them while still having netting all around for camouflage. Today we have no such markings and not much of a lead-from-the-front ethos that needs to be corrected. Another problem is the many preventable "friendly fire" deaths we've suffered in Irag and Afghanistan. One way we can solve these problems would be by re-introducing a mark in the helmet back using glint, NPTT and a coded infared marker light when the helmet cover has the Simons coverTM sewn on the front.


The PRISM Synchronized Identify Friend or Foe (IFF) marking system is designed to deliver positive, long range, covert identification and marking of equipment, personnel, or landmarks. PRISM is not just an infared marker light that can be imitated by an alert enemy; it can give off coded flashes to signal that indeed friendly personnel are there. Tragic friendly fire incidents like former NFL football star Pat Tillman can be avoided at least during low light and night time if we employed PRISM on every American Soldier's PASGT and ACH/MICH kevlar helmets to insure they can be positively identified before opening fire. There are 3 ways it can be used:

a. On all the time as a regular IR beacon

b. On only when interogated by a friendly coded laser beam like an AN/PAQ-4 aiming light on a M16 rifle/M4 carbine

c. Synchronized to be on all at once in a group to create a forward trace of troops for aircraft resupply and Close/Maneuver Air Support attack missions or coordination with fire & maneuver elements on the ground at night.

This system is comprised of a PRISM-SPS (Synchronized Pulse Source) unit and any number of PRISM units. The PRISM-SPS unit continuously flashes an encoded, factory set, pulse of IR light. Any PRISM unit that is within a PRISM-SPS unit's range and line of sight will be instantaneously and automatically synchronized to the PRISM-SPS' pulse rate. The pulse rate timing is stored in memory so that PRISMs may be dispersed over a wide area yet still remain synchronized though they are not in range of a PRISM-SPS anymore. An on-board timer insures that pulse drift over extended periods of time is minimal when not in range of a PRISM-SPS.

A synchronized beacon group can be easily detected from a distance. Instead of being just a cluster of random flashes, this synchronized array is easily spotted from a long range and accurately depicts the group's position and orientation.

Unique pulse codes for each PRISM-SPS can also further aid in identifying different PRISM Groups such as DZ and LZ markers, ground party "fences" and target markers. The light pulse is designed to look like a definite beacon pulse, when viewed through NVGs, and not mistaken for enemy muzzle flashes.

The PRISM at just $100 each is affordable and powered by a 9 volt or possibly 1 x CR123 3-volt or AA batteries is light enough to be on the rear of the helmet without adding discomfort and actually counterbalances the night vision goggles hanging on the front a bit. 1 x CR123, AA 1.5 volt or other battery solution will be made available upon request. (TekGear would need to built one for the customer.) SKEDCO has added a pouch that is sewn on the back of the helmet along with its Simons NVG coverTM kit for the PRISM for one-time sewing at Ranger Joe's or a local sewing place that has learnt the precise ways to sew the Simons coversTM to helmets like they do rank and nametapes.

The challenge is that the interrogator light needs to be a leader's pointer separately purchased or a modified PAQ-4 and the company that makes them INSIGHT is not co-operating to offer an added value to their aiming light. Most Army posts have night vision device repair shops that can retrofit the TekGear chip into PAQ-4s to gain an interrogator capability; though INSIGHT must not play the selfish and narrow-minded spoiler and cry that the warranty has been nullified. This corporate greed non-sense has to stop.


POC: Tony Havelka
1350 Port Republic Rd.
PO Box 1106
Harrisonburg, VA 22801
Phone (204) 988-3001
Fax (204) 988-3050
Sales Email: deborahw@tekgear.com

DUNS Number: US 046519562
CCR Registered
GST Reg: 8864 12618



System could prevent deaths by friendly fire

Laser-ID mechanism to be tested this month

By Bruce V. Bigelow

September 9, 2005

As American Paratroopers struggled to regroup at night in enemy territory during the D-Day invasion of World War II, they called out a verbal challenge -"Flash" - when they saw or heard someone nearby.

Other paratroopers were trained to respond with a password: "Thunder."

Using a similar idea, San Diego's Cubic Corp. has developed a laser-based combat identification system that is intended to distinguish friends from foes on the modern battlefield. The system, which will be tested by NATO troops in England this month, is intended to help avoid U.S. casualties in friendly-fire incidents.

The technology, called Optical Combat Identification System, represents an extension of Cubic's experience with laser-based equipment used in military training. Cubic's equipment enables troops to play "laser tag" during combat training exercises that pit one set of ground forces against another. The identification system works in a similar way.

A Soldier can use a specialized laser mounted on a rifle or armored vehicle to transmit an invisible optical signal at people or distant objects. Friendly troops wear a sensor, which reflects the laser in a way that triggers a warning tone or a flashing light in the transmitting weapon's eyepiece or targeting system.

The device thus can identify friendly troops. It also can be used to calculate the range to distant troops or objects, and to provide other information. Cubic officials said the system uses a safe laser that won't harm the eyes of U.S. troops, and is even invisible to night-vision goggles.

One drawback is that the system can't tell the difference between someone who isn't wearing a sensor, such as civilians, and enemy Soldiers or other foes.

In the upcoming field trial, Cubic also must show that its lasers cannot be detected and that it has developed adequate safeguards to prevent enemy Soldiers from using captured sensors to foil U.S. forces.

Nevertheless, such technology could reduce what the Army calls incidents of fratricide, said Max Farrow, Cubic's senior vice president of engineering.

The Pentagon doesn't list incidents of friendly fire among the estimated 1,895 members of the U.S. military who have died since the beginning of the Iraq war in March 2003.

One of the most infamous incidents occurred in Afghanistan in 2004, when Army Ranger Pat Tillman, a former professional football player, was shot and killed by U.S. forces.

While Cubic has developed prototype systems, the company must still prove that its combat identification system is operational and useful. The Army recently awarded Cubic a $3.4 million contract to participate in a coalition forces field trial that begins Sept. 19 in the United Kingdom.

"If you think about the fact that we're up to half a million troops, not counting coalition troops," Farrow said, "it could become the biggest program in production, probably, that Cubic has ever had."

Cubic's sensors also could be issued to a variety of noncombatants, Farrow said, including medical and logistical personnel.

In a related development, Cubic said the Pentagon agency that funds military research and development has awarded the company a $6.1 million contract to continue its work on multifunctional optical sensor tags.

A multifunctional tag, which is about the size of a matchbook, operates much like the sensors used for combat identification.

But the research funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency hopes to broaden the use of such tags.

"What we really have is a laser-based, long-range digital communication system that is covert. It is very difficult to detect," said Steve Sampson, Cubic's vice president of advanced programs.

The tags can be used in long-range communication in training, transmitting combat identification data, range measurements, and sending and receiving video images, Sampson said.

"The technology as we've introduced it appears to be unique," Sampson said. "It's small and anybody can use it, from Soldiers to armored platforms to aircraft. The same technology is suitable for all of those."


Bruce Bigelow: (619) 293-1314; bruce.bigelow@uniontrib.com



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