The Mode 5 upgrade provides a more secure way of identifying Australian, US and it coalition partners to avoid the chance of blue-on-blue fratricide incidents.
Saab Australia project manager Trevor Bate says, “IFF Mode 5 ensures Australian ground-based air defence crews can participate in allied missions operating in shared airspaces confidently. Mode5 is critical for knowing who is a friend and who isn’t in complex operational environments”.
The three key components of the Australian Army’s air-defence system supplied by Saab are being upgraded; the RBS 70, Giraffe radar, and TaCCs (the tactical command and control system).
The Giraffe radar provides powerful 3D surveillance and C3 functionality with early warning against multiple air threats—including incoming rocket, artillery and mortar rounds—to give ground teams’ better protection.
“The Giraffe proved its worth for the Australian Army and allies under rocket and mortar attacks in Afghanistan; there was no doubt it prevented casualties,” said Warrant Officer Class One Jamie Cornwall.
The short range air defence system is operated by the Australian Army’s 16th Air Land Regiment (16 ALR) out of Woodside South Australia which has over thirty RBS 70 units and three Giraffe radars.
Saab is providing training and support throughout the project, including assistance for international exercises. Late last year, 16ALR participated in BoldQuest 17.2—an international interoperability exercise held in the USA—with one Giraffe and a number of RBS 70 units, one with the Mode 5 upgrade.
Commanding Officer 16ALR Lieutenant Colonel Corey Shillabeer said, “the BoldQuest exercise gave 16 ALR an excellent opportunity to operate in a complex and contested coalition environment and show off our skills whilst gaining pre-certification testing of new IFF Mode 5 capability needed for future allied operations”.
The first delivery of the upgraded RBS 70s will take place in August 2018. The Giraffes will follow in March 2019, with final deliveries due July 2019.