Leonardo has signed a contract with the Italian Defence authorities to supply and install New Generation Identification Friend or Foe (NGIFF) systems, updated to the latest NATO Mode 5 Baseline 3 standard, for land and naval platforms of the armed forces, the company announced on 5 March.

The contract is worth approximately €75 million, with a performance period of six years. Leonardo will supply several hundred NGIFF interrogators and cryptographic units in order to upgrade dozens of land and naval platforms across 15 different classes and types.
The systems will allow the armed forces to maintain full interoperability with other NATO forces in joint operations as the alliance mandates the use of Mode 5-capable systems in its Minimum Military Requirements for air-to-air and surface-to-air identification. The Mode 5 standard confers a number of benefits in terms of identification and security.

IFF technology is essential to military operations, as it allows allied forces to be distinguished from potential threats. Under this contract, the equipment for Italy’s land and naval platforms will be provided entirely by Italian industry. Notably, Leonardo’s Mode 5 NGIFF equipment uses the company’s own cryptographic unit – the only current alternative to a US cryptographic system.

Future contractual developments are planned which will see Leonardo equip Italian aircraft and helicopters with the same capability, bringing them in-line with NATO standards.

Typical of the sensors with which the NGIFF interrogators will have to work is the KRONOS naval radar, used on vessels of 400+t displacement. (Photo: Leonardo)

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