Douglas Barrie/London

The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) is likely to release an invitation to tender for its £500 million ($800 million)-plus next-generation identification-friend-or-foe (IFF) programme within the next two to three months.

The Successor IFF (SIFF) project is intended to provide all three armed services with a common IFF system to be fitted to a variety of aircraft. All Royal Air Force aircraft will be fitted with the SIFF, apart from the Panavia Tornado F3 and Eurofighter EF2000.

The EF2000 will be equipped with a compatible IFF now being developed as part of the project. The MoD has a separate programme to equip its F3 with an improved IFF capability.

This programme is running independently because the new equipment is required before the SIFF becomes available.

At least two companies are expected to bid to lead the SIFF project, including British Aerospace and GEC-Marconi, which has teamed with Thomson-CSF to address the project.

The SIFF programme is the latest iteration of the MoD's long-running search for a successor to the Mk X IFF. It had originally been a member of the NATO Identification System (NIS) project which was intended to provide a successor to the RAF's Mk X IFF, as well as the IFFs of other partner air forces.

Both the USA and the UK have now left this programme to pursue their own projects. France, Germany and Italy, however, continue to collaborate on developing a common next-generation IFF.

Alongside the SIFF, the UK MoD is also looking to procure a new-generation battlefield IFF system which is intended to be fitted to land vehicles.

Source: Flight International