Military Embedded Systems

IFF AN/UPX-40 system is installed into E-3 Sentry AWACS aircraft


August 04, 2015

Mariana Iriarte

Technology Editor

Military Embedded Systems

Photo by U.S. Air Force/ Senior Airman Betty R. Chevalier

HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. The Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) Next Generation Identification Friend or Foe (NGIFF) program office has completed the first installation of the AN/UPX-40 system on an operational AWACS aircraft at Tinker AFB, Okla.The Identification Friend of Foe (IFF) system retains legacy capabilities, but includes Mode 5 Interrogation enhancements.

The U.S. Air Force fleet of E-3 Sentry AWACS aircraft is slated to replace the AN/APX-103C model with the AN/UPX-40 system. The $60 million IFF upgrade is part of an AWACS modernization effort known as Block 40/45, which will replace current 1970s vintage mission computing and displays with an open system and up-to-date commercial-off-the-shelf hardware and software.

The AWACS radar coupled with IFF interrogation system can gather information that can detect, identify, and track enemy and allied low-flying aircraft by eliminating ground clutter signals.

"The role of the E-3 is to carry out airborne surveillance and command, control and communication functions for both tactical and air defense forces," says Lt. Col. Chris Williams, E-3 Netcentric Capabilities Branch materiel leader. "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."

After the completion of Milestone C decision in 2012, Telephonics Corp. was selected for a production contract with deliveries that started in the 2015 fiscal year. According to Nick Grudziecki, NGIFF deputy program manager, more installations are planned for the rest of the year.


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