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Hensoldt Modernises Luftwaffe IFF

Encryptable Transponder Helps Avoid ‘Friendly Fire’

As part of the modernisation of all NATO’s identification-friend-or-foe (IFF) systems, Hensoldt is equipping the German Air Force’s 90 TORNADOs with its Mode 5-capable LTR 400 transponder.

An initial order for the delivery of 42 devices, worth several million euros, has been placed by TORNADO OEM Panavia Aircraft GmbH; the conversion of over one hundred further platforms for the Bundeswehr is planned.

As early as October 2019, the additional qualifications required for the LTR 400 transponder system to be installed on the TORNADO at equipment level were successfully completed and the relevant documents handed over to Airbus Defence and Space. During subsequent test flights at the end of 2019, the performance requirements for the IFF system as specified by the responsible military technical service (WTD-61) were verified

IFF technology is of central importance to all military operations. Based on automated electronic signals, it ensures that the armed forces can recognize friends who respond with the correct signal when contacted and identify potentially hostile vehicles who do not.

All NATO countries are mandated to migrate to the new Mode 5 standard IFF, which uses advanced cryptographic techniques to secure systems against electronic interference. This is important when armed forces operate together, as ensuring that crews of land, air and naval forces can reliably identify their allies is one of the most important ways of preventing so-called ‘friendly fire’ incidents.

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