26 APRIL, 2016 BY: BETH STEVENSON LONDON
Italian air force Eurofighter Typhoons have been used to demonstrate to NATO the ability to detect friendly ground forces using a modified air-to-air identification friend-or-foe (IFF) system.
A NATO-observed trial took place over Pratica di Mare air base, near Rome, during which Finmeccanica’s Mode 5 reverse-IFF system was integrated on board Tranche 1 aircraft. It simulated interrogating Italian army vehicles for friendly signal emissions which, once verified, ensured the fighter held off from firing at allied forces.
IFF systems are typically used to verify the threat from other aircraft by sending out an interrogation signal and requesting the pilot respond. The reversed system interrogates ground forces, and is named as such because it uses the transponder usually employed to reply to interrogations to scan the ground for threats.
Finmeccanica says NATO is considering the system as a short- to mid-term solution for air-to-surface identification of friendly forces, so the demonstration was observed by the Alliance’s Battlefield Combat Identification Capability Team.
Integration and test work was supported by Finmeccanica as part of the air force’s experimental flight test centre at Pratica di Mare.
“The integration solution developed by Finmeccanica has shown that it is possible to introduce such a significant capability in a simple, low-impact fashion using the aircraft’s existing transponder,” the company says.
Finmeccanica’s Mode 5 IFF technology has been adopted by NATO as the standard for new military platforms and will be mandatory across the Alliance from 2020.
In February, it was also announced that Saab Gripen NGs destined for Sweden and Brazil will benefit from the IFF system, under a 96-unit order to be delivered over a five-year period from 2017.
Finmeccanica adapts IFF technology to tackle friendly fire
Finmeccanica has completed trials involving a Reverse-Identification Friend or Foe (Reverse-IFF) system with a Eurofighter Typhoon.
In the tests, the transponder’s software was altered to enable the interrogation of ground vehicles.
Adapting a SIT423/5 transponder equipping an Italian Air Force (AMI) Tranche 1 Eurofighter Typhoon, the company demonstrated how the Mode 5 Reverse function could be used to interrogate vehicles to mitigate the threat of fratricide during close air support (CAS) missions.
The trials were conducted by the Experimental Flight Test Centre (Centro Sperimentale di Volo) at the Pratica di Mare Air Force base near Rome. Simulating a CAS mission, the Eurofighter approached Italian Army Lince vehicles. James Bingham – IHS Jane’s International Defence Review 27 April 2016 @janes.com
Note: Error in Janes report the IFF model is SIT 422/5 IFF Transponder
SIT 422/5 – IFF Interrogator Mode 5 and Mode S
The SIT422/5 is part of a family of MkXIIA (MkXII + Mode 5) and Mode S interrogators developed under the NGIFF program in order to provide a state-of-the-art IFF capability.
Military identification is available with Modes 4 and 5, suppor ted by an embedded crypto module entirely designed by Selex ES; and qualified by NATO Authorities (SECAN);
Variants of the equipment can be provided for non-NATO applications, with a M4-only or National Secure Mode capability. Mode S is also provided in order to monitor civilian air traffic for Situational Awareness purposes. @selex-comms.com