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Finmeccanica, with the Italian Defense General Staff, has demonstrated the successful integration of a Mode 5 Reverse-IFF (Identification Friend-Foe) system, providing air-to-ground IFF capabilities for a Tranche 1 Eurofighter Typhoon. The demonstration was witnessed by representatives from the NATO Battlefield Combat Identification Capability Team.
An IFF system provides pilots with the ability to distinguish between ‘friendly’ vehicles and potential threats by sending out an interrogation signal and verifying the responses from other aircraft.. A reverse-IFF system uses the same concept to interrogate ground forces, allowing a pilot to understand where surface-level friendly forces are located before deciding whether to use weaponry. The system is called ‘reverse’ IFF because the aircraft uses its transponder, usually used to reply to interrogations from other aircraft or from the ground, to scan the ground vehicles.
To demonstrate the solution, an Italian Air Force Typhoon simulated a Close Air Support mission over Pratica di Mare (Rome) air base in Italy, flying toward and interrogating a number of Italian Army Lince armoured vehicles with its reverse-IFF system. As the Lince vehicles returned ‘friendly’ signals, the Typhoon held off from providing air to ground support that might otherwise have caused collateral damage. to the friendly forces.