Cassidian's “Reverse IFF” enables sophisticated early detection of friendly forces

Cassidian has implemented a new capability of battlefield identification which allows combat aircraft and helicopters to reliably identify friendly forces in a pre-defined area before the use of weapons.

Cassidian IFF Bold Quest

Bei Bold Quest 2013 setzte die Luftwaffe den MSSR-200-I-Abrager in der Bodenstation und den LTR400-Transponder in der Transall ein (Foto: Cassidian).  


As reported by the company during the DSEI exhibition in London, Cassidian has successfully tested the enhancement of equipment used in military missions to distinguish friendly forces from hostile, the so-called Identification Friend-or-Foe (IFF). This enhancement, called Reverse IFF (RIFF), allows aircraft to locate friendly forces in a pre-defined ground area by emitting interrogation signals. Previously, aircraft only responded to enquiries sent from ground-based interrogators but had no technical means themselves to identify ground forces.

“Our Reverse IFF solution is based on the latest NATO IFF standard, Mode 5, which cannot be intercepted by hostile forces due to our sophisticated encryption techniques linked to it,” said Elmar Compans, Head of Cassidian Sensors & Electronic Warfare.

Mode 5 RIFF enables aircraft and helicopters to use Cassidian transponders for air-ground interrogations in addition to their current function responding to interrogations from ground stations. This way, airborne platforms receive a valuable new capability without substantial modifications in aircraft equipment.

Cassidian has tested the new capability in several campaigns, the most recent conducted at the end of August on the German test area of Baumholder. Prior to that, the company supported the German forces in the Bold Quest 2013 exercise held mainly in North Carolina/USA, with equipment from the whole IFF action chain: MSSR 2000 I (MSSR - Monopulse Secondary Surveillance Radar) interrogators deployed in ground stations; LTR 400 (LTR - Lightweight Transponder) transponders employed in a German Luftwaffe C160 Transall and the latest QRTK 3/4NG cryptographic computers. Complete interoperability with in-service allied IFF Mode 4 and 5 equipment was proven.

Cassidian has delivered IFF systems to several NATO nations for ground, naval and air applications. Amongst others, the long range interrogator MSSR 2000 I protects all German Navy ships as well as UK Royal Navy ships and the French Navy’s BPC command ships. It is also employed in all long range air defence radars of Germany and the UK.

In Germany, Cassidian has established the air traffic control network of the German Luftwaffe covering an airspace of 1,700 x 1,500 km. In total, Cassidian has more than 370 systems in approx. 30 nations under contract, including the United States.

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