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The Air Force's 90 Tornado fighters will be equipped with Mode 5-capable LTR 400 transponders. The measure is part of the modernization of all NATO friend-foe identification systems (IFF) to the new Mode 5 “standard.

Panavia Aircraft GmbH - the industrial consortium for the development of the Tornado - has given Hensoldt an initial order for the delivery of 42 units worth several million euros. A total of over a hundred additional Bundeswehr platforms are planned to be converted.

IFF technology is central to all military operations. Automated electronic signals ensure that the armed forces can detect friendly nations' weapon systems that respond when they get the right signal and identify potentially enemy vehicles that don't.

All NATO countries are mandated to switch to the new Mode 5 IFF standard, which uses advanced cryptographic techniques to secure the systems against electronic interference from the enemy. This is important when armed forces operate together. One of the most important ways to avoid so-called "friendly fire" incidents is that the land, air and naval crews can reliably identify their allies. The LTR 400 transponder is qualified for all flying platforms of the Air Force and the Army and is used on all military helicopters from Airbus.

Gerhard Heiming