Team Skytale, led by Leonardo-Finmeccanica, has been selected as the preferred bidder to provide upgraded Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) capabilities for over 400 British military platforms, the company announced during Farnborough 2016 this week.
The UK MoD intends to upgrade more than 400 operational aircraft, naval vessels and ground-based air defence systems to the new NATO Mode 5 IFF capability by 2020. Making use of state-of-the-art cryptographic technology, Mode 5 provides operators with a more secure and reliable interrogation facility, overcoming limitations and potential vulnerability to countermeasures that previous technologies unavoidably allow.
Leonardo-Finmeccanica already delivered the technology to Italy, Japan and the UK as well as providing it for the Saab GRIPEN E combat aircraft. The company will use its M428 Transponder and SIT 2010 cryptographic computer for all the UK platforms, minimising equipment variety and thus reducing the required support footprint as well as enhancing interoperability.
Team Skytale member Airbus Defence & Space Electronics and Border Security will provide its proven MSSR 2000 I and MSR 1000 I Interrogator in addition to its BTI 1000 I test equipment. French, German and UK forces already use the Interrogator and are among customers in 30 nations to whom Airbus has delivered some 400 IFF interrogator systems.
Leonardo-Finmeccanica will manage the IFF upgrade for 11 aircraft types with an out-of-service date later than 2020, while Airbus will be responsible for 18 naval and two ground-based platform types. The team will also establish a UK-based support hub for Mode 5 IFF, thereby creating a sovereign capability.