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Friend or Foe: Advanced Aircraft Identification Systems Headed to U.S. and Allied Forces

BAE Systems’ Mode-5 AIFF system will enable F-16 pilot to quickly differentiate between friendly and potentially hostile forces well beyond his or her visual range
System to outfit Air Force’s F-16s

The nation’s fighting forces need secure and reliable line-of- sight identification to distinguish friend from foe during missions, and BAE Systems is answering the call. The company has been awarded a $34 million contract to provide the U.S. Air Force with its Mode 5 Advanced Identification Friend or Foe (AIFF) system, used to identify and track military aircraft.

“The system allows the warfighter to rapidly differentiate between friendly and potentially hostile forces well beyond a pilot’s visual range,” said Sal Costa, product line director for Identification & Processing Solutions at BAE Systems.

The system, which was developed as an enhancement to older, less capable IFF technology, increases identification capability through the use of secure message and data transmission formats. Its improvements include increased security and enhanced algorithms, as well as upgraded key management, interoperability, and supportability.

Used to reduce fratricide for U.S. and allied forces since World War II, IFF technology is an electronic questions-and-answer system composed of interrogators that ask questions and transponders that provide responses. Under this contract, BAE Systems will provide its enhanced AN/APX-125 Mode 5 Combined Interrogator Transponders to the Air Force and the European Participating Air Force partners. BAE Systems was the first Department of Defense contractor to receive National Security Agency Mode 5 certification, which is required for use on military platforms.

Work on the contract is expected to be completed by 2015.

Ref. No.053/2013