Leonardo and Hensoldt (formerly Airbus DS Electronics and Border Security) have agreed to jointly offer Mode-5 Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) solutions to customers around the world. The two companies, working together as ‘Team Skytale,’ have already been selected as preferred bidder by the UK Ministry of Defence to upgrade IFF systems on more than 400 land, sea and air vehicles.
In 2020, all NATO nations are mandated to switch over to the new, more-secure Mode-5 version of the technology and other nations looking to operate alongside NATO forces will also need to be able to interact with the new standard. Mode-5 uses the latest cryptographic techniques to avoid the
Leonardo and Hensoldt are the only companies outside the US able to offer a cryptographic computer that meets the US Department of Defense AIMS 04-900(A) Option B control standard, making Team Skytale’s European solution readily exportable to a wide range of potential international customers. Nations which the team will be approaching include those who intend to upgrade their systems to the new Mode-5 standard to allow inter-operation with NATO forces. Team Skytale will be looking to Europe, the Middle East and Far-Eastern nations as potential customers.
In the UK, Leonardo has previously delivered Mode-5 IFF for the Royal Navy’s QUEEN ELIZABETH-class aircraft carriers and the Royal Air Force’s Eurofighter TYPHOONs, while in Italy Leonardo is providing Mode-5 IFF for the NH90 helicopter. Internationally, the company provides Mode-5 IFF technology for the Saab GRIPEN-E fighter and other worldwide armed forces. Looking at future IFF technologies, the company has already demonstrated reverse-IFF (air-to-ground) capabilities with the Italian Air Force on its Eurofighter TYPHOON aircraft and is currently studying the benefits of E-Scan IFF for future TYPHOON aircraft.