The US Navy announced the award of a $26 million contract to BAE Systems for the development of Identification Friend-or-Foe (IFF) technology for the E-2D Advanced Hawkeye aircraft.
BAE Systems will provide the Hawkeye with an upgrade to Beamforming Networks, part of the AN/APX-122A IFF Interrogator system.
Through the AN/APX-122A IFF Interrogator system, the Hawkeye aircraft will feature enhanced situational awareness in detecting friendly or hostile aircraft during missions. The will be produced exclusively for the Hawkeye, given the special requirements of the aircraft.
IFF Interrogation System
An interrogation system is a defense technology that allows aircraft operators to distinguish between nearby allies or hostiles in the air.
Although radars have been used since World War II for identification, there has been no way to tell if another aircraft is friendly or not until visual confirmation. The problem is greater at high speeds.
The IFF interrogation system also allows better air traffic control for military and civilian aircraft. The system uses a transponder that captures an interrogation signal and then sends a response that identifies the broadcaster as either friendly or unidentifiable.
IFF systems usually use radar frequencies, but later iterations of the technology have employed infrared and electromagnetic frequencies.