Leonardo (Hall D, Stand D208) and LIG Nex1 (Hall D, Stand D240C) have signed a strategic agreement that will initially address the Republic of Korea’s requirement to upgrade its identification friend or foe (IFF) capability to the newest Mode 5 standard.
IFF provides operators with the ability to distinguish between friendly forces and those that may be considered hostile, sending out a signal to other platforms that needs to be responded to with a correct password in order to not be classified as a threat.
Mode 5 is the latest standard and will make the Republic of Korea’s aircraft fleet compliant with NATO standards and in turn interoperable with NATO forces. Mode 5 uses advanced cryptographic techniques to protect attempts at deceiving or jamming the system.
Leonardo is the selected industry partner of the UK Ministry of Defence to upgrade 31 platform types totalling 350 systems across the nation’s three armed services to this standard, and the company says it will draw on this experience to offer risk reduction for the South Korean requirement.
With South Korean partner LIG Nex1, Leonardo is offering to localise production of certain parts of the system in-country, something that it has been doing in other ways in Korea.
For example, in 2017 the company signed a memorandum of understanding with an undisclosed defence contractor to work on jointly providing avionics and mission systems, and it has also transferred its Electronic Warfare Operational Support programme capability to members of the Korean navy, air force and agency for defence development.
The Republic of Korea Navy operates the AW159 helicopter, meanwhile, which additionally carries Leonardo’s Seaspray radar and helicopter integrated defensive aids suite.