Certifiable Situational Awareness & BVLOS Solutions for Uncrewed Aircraft Systems in the Defense & Civil Industries

Micro IFF UAS Transponder Receives DoD AIMS Certification

By Mike Ball / 08 Feb 2021
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Sagetech Avionics Mode 5 Micro IFF Transponder for UAS

Sagetech Avionics has been awarded the world’s first 17-1000 Mark XIIB certification by the U.S. Department of Defense AIMS Program Office for its MX12B micro Mode 5 Identify Friend or Foe (IFF) transponder. The transponder is designed for NATO and allied militaries to deploy Mode 5 IFF capability on small unmanned aerial systems (UAS), protecting troops against rapidly increasing drone threats from enemy forces.

The MX12B is the world’s smallest certified Mode 5 IFF transponder, delivering 100% of the Mode 5 functionality from a package that is up to 93% smaller than traditional certified transponders. It can be easily interchanged with Sagetech’s MXS, the civil version of the transponder, making it ideal for multi-mission UAVs. With an easy to upgrade architecture, the new certified MX12B micro transponder provides U.S., NATO, and allied forces worldwide with all current and future Mode 5 IFF functions, in a form factor that saves at least 5 pounds of weight.

Sagetech has successfully performed live demonstrations of the MX12B interoperating with multiple crypto computers at the U.S. Navy IMPAX 2020 event, for the U.S Army, and for major OEM military UAS customers. Following this new issuing, the company has already delivered certified MX12B units to numerous customers to fulfill backlog purchase orders for new and ongoing programs.

Key features of the MX12B micro transponder include:

  • World’s first full certification to DoD AIMS 17-1000 Mark XIIB
  • Compliant with STANAG 4193 NATO IFF
  • Military Modes 1, 2, 3, 5 (Levels 1 & 2), upgradeable to Level 2-B Out
  • Crypto compatibility per AIMS 04-900(A), Option B (KIV-77, SIT2010)
  • Civil Modes A, C, S per RTCA/DO-181E
  • Integrated ADS-B In per RTCA/DO-260B
  • ADS-B Out per RTCA/DO-260B
  • Full power per AIMS 17-1000
  • Native antenna diversity for full visibility by space-based and ground-based ADS-B systems, configurable for single antenna installations
  • Flexible I/O: Ethernet, RS-422, RS-232
  • 93% smaller than competitive products: 3.4″ H x 2.5″ W x 1.0″ D (86 x 64 x 25 mm)
  • Weight: 6.7 oz. (190g)
  • Environmental screening: RTCA DO-160G, MIL-STD-461F, MIL-STD-810G
  • Included command and control software
  • ADS-B In situational awareness data visualization software available
  • Test and integration kits including test box and KIV emulator also available

Tom Furey, CEO of Sagetech Avionics, commented: “Around the world, enemy military drones are proliferating, and it is vital to distinguish between friendly or hostile drones. Mode 5 IFF provides the solution to this issue, but until now, manned aircraft transponders were too large for use on anything but the largest UAS. The MX12B combines Mode 5 IFF functionality with ADS-B situational awareness in a tiny SWaP unit that is fast and easy to integrate.”

“Sagetech has served the military with certified products that have flown millions of mission hours, so customers can feel comfortable they’re receiving bullet-proof functionality built on a heritage of military program performance.”

“All current certified aircraft transponders are certified to the older specification of AIMS 03-1000, Mark XIIA. The MX12B is the only transponder – of any size – now certified to the newer specification of AIMS 17-1000 Mark XIIB.”

Matthew Hamilton, CTO of Sagetech, said: “From a technology perspective, we’ve used our military program experience and microelectronics expertise to take a traditional Mode 5 IFF transponder and condense it into a package that is nine times smaller, six times lighter, and certified to a higher level than the next smallest certified Mode 5 IFF transponder. After months of rigorous testing to verify compliance to the full AIMS 17-1000 specification, harsh MIL-STD environmental testing, and data analysis by our team of engineers, we are pleased to have certified to the complete set of Mode 5 IFF requirements. Our new MX12B is suitable for any fixed- or rotary-wing unmanned or manned aircraft.”

Dawn Zoldi (Colonel, USAF Retired), CEO of P3 Tech Consulting, internationally recognized drone law expert, and a 25-year Air Force veteran, stated: “I’ve been in the ops center, standing side-by-side with a commander who has to make split second life-or-death decisions on the battlefield. The ability to make the call on hostile intent under the Rules of Engagement in those moments is critical. Sagetech’s MX12B micro transponder will go a long way in helping military leaders and troops make the right decisions when it matters the most. This tech will not just enable our forces to prevail in complex multi-domain operations, it will save ‘blue’ lives. Now U.S. soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines, and our coalition partners will be able to more readily determine if an inbound drone is friend or foe and take whatever action is needed under the circumstances. This is a game-changer.”

To learn more, contact Sagetech Avionics: Visit Website Send Message View Supplier Profile
Posted by Mike Ball Mike Ball is our resident technical editor here at Unmanned Systems Technology. Combining his passion for teaching, advanced engineering and all things unmanned, Mike keeps a watchful eye over everything related to the unmanned technical sector. With over 10 years’ experience in the unmanned field and a degree in engineering, Mike’s been heading up our technical team here for the last 8 years. Connect & Contact