USAF E-3 gets new IFF
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.
More from Digital Battlespace
Northrop Grumman achieves design milestone for US Pacific missile tracking
The company's Relay Ground Station-Asia for the US Naval Information Warfare Center, to be stationed in Guam, has passed its preliminary design review.
L3Harris, Amazon team up to advance battlespace networking
L3Harris Technologies has announced an agreement with Amazon Web Services (AWS) to demonstrate networking and sensor fusion capabilities across a distributed battlespace. The two companies …
From Information to Insight (sponsored)
Until the 21st century, intelligence was gathered in discreet ways. People would go undercover, use secret codes, and pass intelligence over at park benches. With thanks to the huge leap forward in technology, we now live in a world with an abundance of easily accessible information.
L3Harris contracted for mobility research to inform autonomous systems development
L3Harris has been contracted by the US Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity to carry out human mobility modelling and simulation to support development of future autonomous systems.
US Marine Corps enhances tactical comms with L3Harris radio contracts
The US Marine Corps is acquiring further L3Harris Falcon IV tactical radios under two new contracts.