F-16 Fighting Falcon News

Only half of Dutch F-16s to get Mode 5 IFF system installed

October 5, 2007 (by Lieven Dewitte) - Defence State Secretary Cees van der Knaap plans to equip only 36 of the F-16s with Mode 5 IFF as it is too expensive to install the identification system in all Dutch F-16s.

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RNlAF F-16AM #J-055 performing during RIAT 2007 on July 14th, 2007. [Photo by Mike Schoenmaker]

The Netherlands has 72 F-16 fighter aircraft available for NATO missions. It is operationally desirable to equip all of these with the new Mode 5 Identification, Friend, or Foe (IFF) recognition system that NATO wants to introduce in 2012, according to the state secretary. However, it is not cost-effective, because part of the F-16 fleet is expected to be replaced in 2015. This is why he only wants to equip half the fleet with the system, he said in a letter to parliament.

The Mark XII IFF System is a cooperative question and answer friend identification system that has been operational since the 1960's. The Mark XIIA Mode 5 is an improvement to the aging Mark XII that uses modern modulation, coding, and cryptographic techniques to overcome performance and security problems in the current Mark XII waveform. Additionally, Mark XIIA Mode 5 offers expanded data handling capable of passing GPS position and other extended data.

The Dutch cabinet already announced earlier that it wants to cut the F-16 fleet to 87, including 15 for exercises and training.

In 2010, the cabinet will make a decision on purchasing the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF), intended to replace the F-16. In fact, the possibility of the cabinet eventually deciding to order different fighter aircraft can still not be ruled out, suggests Van der Knaap, although insiders deem this unlikely.