Airbus DS EBS equips South Korean tanker with sophisticated “Mode 5” encryption technologies
Airbus DS Electronics and Border Security (EBS), the future HENSOLDT, will equip the recently ordered A330 MRTT multirole tanker aircraft of the South Korean Armed Forces with cryptographic technology employing the latest “Mode 5” NATO standard. Under a contract awarded by Airbus Defence & Space (DS), HENSOLDT will deliver until beginning of 2018 eight cryptographic computers which will protect the MRTT’s identification systems against hostile spoofing and jamming.
The European-manufactured and US-certified QRTK-crypto computers are the key element of the identification-friend-foe (IFF) systems of armed forces which use the automatic exchange of encrypted signals between ground stations and aircraft to distinguish friendly from hostile forces. Effective identification is necessary to avoid own or allied forces being attacked erroneously by friendly forces. Unlike the “Mode 4” standard used in western armies hitherto, “Mode 5” employs highly sophisticated encryption techniques to avoid hostile signal manipulation, thus ensuring that the identification process is absolutely reliable and secure. By 2019, “Mode 5” will be introduced in all western armies, then being a precondition of joint operations of allied forces.