March 21 (UPI) -- Hensoldt of Germany and Italy-based Leonardo have partnered to provide Mode-5 IFF, or identification friend or foe, systems worldwide, the companies announced on Tuesday.
The IFF solution will be offered on a case-by-case basis, the companies said in a new release.
Britain's Ministry of Defense has already selected the companies to upgrade IFF systems on more than 450 land, sea and air platforms.
IFF systems identify ships and aircraft by automatically sending interrogation signals, which are answered by so-called transponders on-board friendly aircraft or ships. But unlike earlier IFF modes, Mode 5 uses the latest cryptographic techniques to avoid hostile signal manipulation to ensure reliable and secure identification.
NATO and allied nations are mandated to switch to the Mode-5 IFF systems by 2020, and Leonardo and Hensoldt are the only companies outside of the United States to be able to offer a cryptographic computer that meets the U.S. Department of Defense SECAN TEMPEST requirements and the AIMS 04-900(A) interface control standard.
Hensoldt, contracted to upgrade German, French, U.S. and other military platforms with Mode 5 IFF systems, has already delivered IFF systems to 42 NATO and NATO-allied nations for ground and naval applications.