Home Europe Italian Armed Forces embark on identification friend or foe system upgrade

Italian Armed Forces embark on identification friend or foe system upgrade

Kronos naval radar Photo: Leonardo

The Italian Armed Forces are set to receive the newest NATO Mode 5 Baseline 3 standard new generation identification friend or foe (NGIFF) systems, which will be delivered by Italian defense company Leonardo.

The six-year contract, that has an estimated value of 75 million euros, will see the company supply and install IFF systems on the Italian Armed Forces’ land and naval platforms.

Leonardo will supply several hundred NGIFF interrogators and cryptographic units in order to upgrade dozens of land and naval platforms across 15 different classes and types.

The NGIFF systems will allow the Italian Armed Forces to maintain full interoperability with other NATO forces in joint operations as the alliance mandates the use of ‘Mode 5’-capable systems in its minimum military requirements (MMR) for air-to-air and surface-to-air identification. The Mode 5 standard confers a number of benefits in terms of identification and security.

IFF technology is essential to military operations as it allows allied forces to be distinguished from potential threats. Under this contract, the equipment for Italy’s land and naval platforms will provided entirely by Italian industry. Notably, Leonardo’s Mode 5 NGIFF equipment uses the company’s own cryptographic unit, which is the only alternative to a US cryptographic system available on the market.

Leonardo expects to receive further contracts to equip Italian aircraft and helicopters with the same capability, bringing them in-line with NATO standards.