The UK Ministry of Defence has awarded a contract to a Finmeccanica - Selex ES led team which will enable the introduction of a new Mode 5 Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) standard across a range of UK Armed Forces’ land, sea and air platforms. Mode 5 IFF is the latest version of the system used to identify and track military aircraft and uses modern cryptographic techniques to overcome the performance and security limitations of its predecessors.

Finmeccanica – Selex ES will work in partnership with Airbus Defence and Space, the MoD Defence Support Group and STS Defence to deliver a 12 month platform integration study. The Mode 5 upgrade will enable the UK to continue to operate safely in joint operations with NATO and other allied forces.

A key element of the team’s approach is to minimise equipment types, using the Finmeccanica - Selex ES M428 Transponder and SIT 2010 cryptographic computer for all platforms. Notably, the SIT 2010 cryptographic computer is not subject to International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) or competing demands for the technology and can be repaired in the UK, allowing for full operational independence.

Combined with Airbus Defence and Space’s MSSR 2000 I® Interrogator, in-service with the Royal Navy, the team will deliver a fully European-sovereign, low-risk and UK-supportable equipment and integration solution.

Finmeccanica - Selex ES has already delivered Mode 5 IFF for the Royal Navy’s Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers and Royal Air Force Eurofighter Typhoons. Airbus Defence and Space also provides Mode 5 IFF systems to the UK Ministry of Defence where they are used in the land and naval domains including the most recent Mode S upgrades under the Royal Navy MSMIC programme.

The two companies have collaborated with the UK MoD for a number of years to define the Mode 5 requirement via the STANAG 4193 working groups and are currently cooperating to provide IFF Mode 5 for German Typhoon fighter aircraft.

Working alongside the UK MoD and industry partners on complex initiatives such as the Common Defensive Aid System (CDAS) programme, Finmeccanica – Selex ES has developed an effective partnered approach to programme delivery and through life capability sustainment. The company understands the challenge that the Mode 5 programme presents but is confident that the team will deliver a credible study which will enable a low-risk, cost-effective way for the UK MoD to switch its entire force over to the new Mode 5 standard.