Finmeccanica has demonstrated the air-to-ground capabilities of its Mode 5 Reverse-Identification Friend-Foe (IFF) system integrated with the Italian Air Force Tranche 1 Eurofighter Typhoon.
The demonstration saw an Italian Air Force Typhoon identify friendly Nato vehicles during a simulated mission.
During the simulated close air support mission over Pratica di Mare (Rome) air base in Italy, the Tranche 1 Eurofighter Typhoon interrogated several Italian Army Lince armoured vehicles with its reverse-IFF system.
As the Lince vehicles returned 'friendly' signals, the Typhoon restrained from providing air-to-ground support that might otherwise have caused collateral damage to the friendly forces.
The IFF system allows pilots to differentiate between 'friendly' vehicles and potential threats by sending out an interrogation signal and verifying the responses from other aircraft.
A reverse-IFF system also uses the same concept to interrogate ground forces, allowing a pilot to trace the location of surface-level friendly forces before deciding whether to use weaponry.
The system is called 'reverse' IFF because the aircraft uses its transponder, which is usually used to reply to interrogations from other aircraft or from the ground, to scan the ground vehicles.
This technology will help avoid collateral damages due to friendly fire during close air support operations.
The development, integration and demonstration of the technology were carried out at Italy's official test centre, National Support Centre EF2000, in Pratica di Mare.
Image: An Italian Air Force Tranche 1 Eurofighter Typhoon. Photo: courtesy of Finmeccanica S.p.a.