Italian company Leonardo has secured a new €11m contract to deliver its new generation identification friend or foe (NGIFF) interrogator for the Italian Navy's NH90 NATO frigate helicopters (NFHs).

The deal has been awarded by the Nato Helicopter Design and Development Production and Logistics Management Agency (NAHEMA) on behalf of the Italian Ministry of Defence (MoD).

The NGIFF interrogator has been named SIT434 /5, and was installed on the NH90 NFH following the successful completion of qualification tests on the Italian Navy helicopters.

Italy's MoD will be the first to install Leonardo Mode 5 IFF capabilities on their NH90 helicopters.

The IFF system works by transmitting a ‘challenge’ signal to an unidentified aircraft and then verifying the automatic responses received, allowing flight operators to detect friendly forces and distinguish them from potential dangers.

The SIT434 / 5 interrogator was developed under the multinational NGIFF programme, and operates as part of an IFF system that sends out the signal.

"The NGIFF interrogator has been named SIT434 /5, and was installed on the NH90 NFH following the successful completion of qualification tests on the Italian Navy helicopters."

Nato members will have to use Mode 5-compatible equipment by 2020, to facilitate improved encryption security and other advantages over traditional systems.

Leonardo also supplied the first NH90 Maritime Italian Navy Tactical Transport (MITT) helicopter to the MoD in January.

The aircraft has been designated MH-90 by its operator, and is the first of ten MH-90 helicopters to be used by the Italian Navy for amphibious support and special forces operations.

The Leonardo MH-90s have been assembled, flight-tested and delivered on time from the company’s Venice-Tessera plant in Italy.

Image: Italian Navy NH90 helicopters to deploy Mode 5 IFF technology. Photo: courtesy of Leonardo.