Cassidian's combat identification systems well-proven in US exercise "Bold Quest'13"

Munich02 August 2013

  • Future NATO Mode 5 standard ready for deployment
  • Aircraft identification indispensable to avoid friendly fire
The Bold Quest'13 exercise demonstrated the advanced status of Cassidian's IFF equipment – to be seen here the IFF ground station and a German C160 The Bold Quest'13 exercise demonstrated the advanced status of Cassidian's IFF equipment – to be seen here the IFF ground station and a German C160 "Transall" flying.(c) Cassidian

Cassidian, the defence division of EADS, has proven the advanced status of its identification systems during the "Bold Quest '13" exercise, a Coalition Capability Demonstration hosted by the U.S. Armed Forces. The exercise involved aircraft, ships and ground stations from five NATO nations aiming at testing and improving "identification-friend-or-foe" (IFF) equipment which is indispensable for avoiding casualties from fratricide.

“Reliably distinguishing hostile from friendly aircraft is a question of life or death in multinational operations,” explains Elmar Compans, Head of Cassidian Sensors & Electronic Warfare. “In order to protect the lives of our soldiers, we are ready to provide our armed forces with all the advantages of the future NATO Mode 5 standards already today.”

Cassidian supported the German forces in the BQ'13 exercise held mainly in North Carolina/USA with equipment from the whole IFF action chain: MSSR2000I ( interrogators in ground stations, LTR400 transponders ( employed in a German Luftwaffe C160 "Transall" mission aircraft and the latest QRTK3/4NG cryptographic computers. This equipment proved highly successfully its interoperability with employed allied IFF Mode 4 and 5 equipment. This demonstrated successfully the proper employment of the next-generation IFF standard Mode 5, which is to be introduced in NATO forces from 2014.

IFF procedures are employed in military missions according to standardized question-and-answer signals in order to quickly recognize friendly incoming aircraft and to alleviate the commander's decision whether to engage the aircraft or not. Different from hitherto utilized systems, Cassidian's IFF products employ highly sophisticated encryption techniques to avoid hostile signal manipulation.

Cassidian has delivered IFF systems ( to several NATO nations for ground, naval and air applications. Amongst others, the long range interrogator MSSR 2000 I protects all German Navy ships as well as UK Royal Navy ships and the French Navy’s BPC command ships. It is also employed in all long range air defence radars of Germany and the UK. In Germany, Cassidian has established the air traffic control network of the German Luftwaffe covering an airspace of 1,700 x 1,500 km. In total, Cassidian has more than 370 systems in approx. 30 nations under contract, including in the U.S.

"Bold Quest" ( is held by the U.S. forces since ten years. Its purpose is to test U.S. and allied combat identification systems in realistic scenarios reflecting current operations. In 2014, NATO is planning to introduce the new Mode 5 IFF standard capitalizing on new technologies which allow for the exchange of more precise identification data and robustness against hostile interference.


Cassidian, the defence division of EADS, is a worldwide leader in defence and security solutions. The company delivers advanced defence systems along the whole action chain from sensors through command & control systems to combat aircraft and unmanned air systems. In the area of security, Cassidian provides customers worldwide with border surveillance systems, cyber security solutions and secure communications. In 2012, Cassidian – with around 23,000 employees – achieved revenues of € 5.7 billion.

CASSIDIAN – Defending World Security


Lothar Belz
Head of Technology / Trade Press
Airbus Defence and Space
Tel.: +49 7 31 3 92 36 81
Fax: +49 7 31 3 92 37 55


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