The US Air Force has ordered identification friend or foe (IFF) cryptographic modules from General Dynamics to enable the precise identification of ‘friendly’ aircraft by ships.

The cryptographic modules are part of the mkXIIA IFF system that is currently used by the air force and US Navy.

The IFF system works simultaneously with force-protection systems including blue force tracking and battlefield combat identification systems.

General Dynamics C4 Systems Information Assurance vice president John Cole said the firm’s IFF modules are the only ones that can function as both an IFF transponder and interrogator simultaneously.

The encryption technology used in the IFF system is part of the General Dynamics family of advanced core cryptographic technologies (FAC2T), whichaddress requirements for high-assurance, low-power, small-size, multiple-level, wireless, high-speed communications information-security solutions.

The deliveries for the $37m, five-year contract will begin in May 2010 with an initial delivery order of $3.5m.