This post is also available in: עברית (Hebrew)
The Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) concept enables the warfighter — and/or another aircraft — to instantly determine if an entity encountered is friendly or hostile. With aircraft, the specific technology employed is an IFF transponder, that listens for an interrogation signal and then sends a response that identifies the broadcaster.
The incorporation of IFF technology into unmanned aerial platforms allows them full participation into the cross-troop, cross-service branch, and cross-nation collaboration and situational awareness that prevents fratricide.
While small UAVs, sometimes designed to act in swarms, are ultimately expendable, they are still not cheap, and collateral damage should be avoided if possible. Thus the need for an IFF.
For example, a UAV transporting ammunition or medical supplies to a forward base should be able to assure its intended recipients that it is not an enemy UAV with deadly intent masquerading as a friend. The problem is that small UAVs cannot carry the IFF transponders designed for larger airframes. Thus the need for micro IFFs.
A new lineup of IFF solutions for small, tactical, and attritable UAV defense platforms has been launched by uAvionix. The uAvionix lineup consists of two different micro IFF transponders, a certified GPS, a passive IFF receiver, a tactical display system, among other components, reports insideunmannedsystems.com.