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USAF E-3 gets new IFF

30th July 2015 - 11:00 GMT | by The Shephard News Team


The upgrade of the first US Air Force E-3 Sentry AWACS aircraft with a new interrogation system is complete, as part of the AWACS modernisation effort known as Block 40/45.

The installation of the AN/UPX-40 identification friend or foe (IFF) interrogator system was carried out by the AWACS Next Generation Identification Friend or Foe (NGIFF) program office from Hanscom Air Force Base. 

The entire air force fleet of 31 AWACS aircraft are set to receive the upgrade, with the AN/UPX-40 system replacing the AN/APX-103C model. The new IFF system retains legacy capabilities, and adds new Mode 5 Interrogation enhancements.

The radar and computer subsystems on AWACS are used to gather and present real time, detailed battlefield information. When coupled with an IFF interrogation system the radar can detect, identify and track enemy and allied low-flying aircraft by eliminating ground clutter signals that confuse other radars. That information can then be used to direct fighter interceptors toward enemy targets.

The new system is being produced and delivered by Telephonics under a $60 million contract awarded in 2012. Eight more AWACS aircraft are slated to receive the upgrade by year's end.

Nick Grudziecki, NGIFF deputy program manager, said: ‘The UPX-40 dramatically improves the detection of weak signals or manoeuvring targets at maximum range and improves detection of targets at all ranges. The new interrogation capabilities also provide faster detection of friendly targets.’

Lt. Col. Chris Williams, E-3 Netcentric Capabilities Branch materiel leader, said: ‘The role of the E-3 is to carry out airborne surveillance and command, control and communication functions for both tactical and air defence forces. The interrogator is a vital piece of equipment required for AWACS to meet mission needs. With the successful installation of the first UPX-40 system, we are one step closer to equipping the fleet.’

The Block 40/45 modernisation effort represents a significant advancement for AWACS and worldwide joint command and control, battle management and wide-area surveillance. 

The Shephard News Team


The Shephard News Team

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