BAE Systems has been awarded a contract for Advanced Identification Friend or Foe systems (IFF Systems) for the F-16 Fighting Falcon combat aircraft, the U.S. Department of Defense said in a statement.
This contract, with an estimated value of around $8.7 million, provides for Group A and B kits, and field-programmable gate arrays.
The contract work will be performed in Greenlawn, New York, and is expected to be completed by October 13, 2018. This award is the result of a sole-source acquisition. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center (AFLCMC), Hill Air Force Base, Utah, is the contracting activity.
Identification, friend or foe (IFF)
Identification, friend or foe (IFF) is an identification system designed for command and control. It enables military and national (civilian air traffic control) interrogation systems to identify aircraft, vehicles or forces as friendly and to determine their bearing and range from the interrogator. IFF may be used by both military and civilian aircraft.
IFF was first developed during the Second World War, with the arrival of radar, and early friendly fire incidents.
Despite the name, IFF can only positively identify friendly targets, not hostile ones. If an IFF interrogation receives no reply or an invalid reply, the object cannot be identified as friendly but is not positively identified as a foe. There are in addition many reasons that friendly aircraft may not properly reply to IFF.
IFF is a tool within the broader military action of Combat Identification (CID), “the process of attaining an accurate characterization of detected objects in the operational environment sufficient to support an engagement decision.” The broadest characterization is that of friend, enemy, neutral, or unknown. CID not only can reduce friendly fire incidents, but also contributes to overall tactical decision-making.