Identification, Friend Or Foe

What Does Identification, Friend Or Foe Mean?

Identification, friend or foe (IFF) is a type of identification system used within military and civil information systems for detecting and identifying friendly vehicles, forces and aircrafts. IFF makes it possible to distinguish between friendly, foe and neutral forces by using purpose-built electromagnetic and radio frequency devices to communicate and identify objects in the battlefield or airspace.

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Techopedia Explains Identification, Friend Or Foe

IFF is primarily a combat identification technique used in air defense procedures to identify approaching aircraft. Typically, IFF is implemented through radio wave or electromagnetic devices that broadcast a specific encrypted signal to the aircraft. If the aircraft responds in a manner deemed as friendly, it is identified as a friend; if it responds inappropriately or not at all, it can be distinguished as a foe. Each airplane is installed with an IFF transponder that responds to all incoming IFF interrogation requests and also defines the intent of the airplane. The IFF system uses two different channels; one is for interrogating the aircraft, while the other for receiving the reply.

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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.