Secondary Radar

Secondary Radar - IFF & SIFF



any surveillance systems show detected objects (targets) as simple marks on some sort of visual display unit. Frequently, the mark on the display (e.g. a radar echo) gives little detail about the object that it represents. This is one feature of non-cooperative systems, such as ordinary radar, that operate without assistance from the target. Secondary radar, often called ‘IFF’ (Identification, Friend or Foe), requires the fitting of a ‘Transponder’ in the aircraft, ship or land vehicle, This transponder, when properly interrogated, can respond with a coded signal that contains information about the object that the surveillance system has detected and interrogated. Thus, a surveillance system can obtain more detailed information about its targets. IFF is used by civilian AIr Traffic Control to monitor the thousands of commercial aeroplanes above all countries of the world, primarily as a way of producing an orderly flow of traffic. An enhanced version, ‘SIFF’ (Selective IFF), is also used. The military version of IFF requires additional features that, for example, deny information to the enemy. This handout describes the main principles of IFF and their importance when used in conjunction with air defence systems.

congested air-space as the interrogator is not overwhelmed by responses from all aircraft in the vicinity. There are 16 Million different codes and the reply includes the code of the responding aircraft, height and other information. Mode S replies use Manchester Encoding (see BST handout on Digital Data Comms). The IFF system that is fitted to military aircraft has to serve two functions. Firstly, to identify military aircraft to civilian ATC for collision avoidance and, secondly, to identify military aircraft to other military systems (especially own-side). The second function is particularly important to avoid so-called ‘friendly fire’. The military IFF must be capable of responding both to the civilian interrogation types described above and to the following military interrogation types: • Mode 1: the required response identifies the type of aircraft and the type of mission. There are 64 possible replies. Mode 2: the required response is the ‘tail-number’ of the aircraft. There are 4096 different replies possible. Mode 3: this is identical to the civilian Mode A and it is often referred to as Mode 3/A. Mode 4: this is an encrypted mode of interrogation that is used to identify friendly aircraft. It uses the concept of ‘challenge-and-response’: friendly aircraft give the correct response but enemy aircraft cannot. The interrogation consists of a number of encrypted challenges and the target aircraft must give the appropriate number of correct responses. Subsequent challenges might differ from previous ones, in order to defeat enemy attempts to deceive the system by recording and replaying previous responses. Details are classified and are not included in this handout. Mode 5: an improved version of Mode 4.

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ll IFF systems transmit the interrogation signal on a frequency of 1.03 GHz (1 030 MHz). This signal has a wavelength of about 30 cm. The interrogation types used by civilian systems (Air Traffic Control, ATC) are: Mode C: the required response is information about the altitude of the aircraft. When flying below 10,000 feet, the response is zero, otherwise the response contains the altitude from 10,000 feet, at intervals of 100 feet. There are 1 278 different responses possible and response is automatic. Mode A: the required response is information about the identifying code that ATC allocated to the aircraft when it came into its area. This code might change when the aircraft flies into an area controlled by a different ATC. Aircraft not under ATC, such as light aircraft flying visually, reply with code 1200. There are 4096 different responses possible, including some that signal an emergency. As with Mode C, the response is automatic. Mode S: this is the ‘Selective’ mode and differs from Modes ‘C’ and ‘3/A’ in that it can be addressed to a specific aircraft. Each aircraft is allocated a unique, code and it only responds to that code. This helps in

The responses to several modes have the same format, so that, for example, a response to a Mode 3/A interrogation cannot be distinguished from a response to a Mode 2 interrogation. The interrogator knows the mode of the response because it remembers the mode of the last challenge. All interrogations take the form of a series of pulses that are transmitted on a frequency of 1030 MHz. Un-encrypted Modes: the interrogation used for the un-encrypted modes contains three pulses (called P1, P2 and P3). The time interval between pulses P1 and P3 identifies the mode: the P2 pulse is used for side-lobe

27 Sep 05


H09 - Secondary Radar.QXD

it is likely to be received by several aircraft. at intervals of 1. This pulse is used for side-lobe suppression. Once these signals have been identified then they can safely be ignored. one interrogator might receive replies from transponders that were activated by another interrogator.g. or into. but with the P3 pulse located 21 μs after the P1 pulse.QXD H09-2 he important feature of this technique is that it provides a means of identifying signals that have passed out of. The method of side-lobe suppression requires two antennae. an antenna via one of its sidelobes. It is not transmitted from the main IFF antenna.5 μs.) SIDE-LOBE SUPPRESSION (INTERROGATION) T 2 μs Mode 4 Interrogation Up to 32 Coded Pulses P1 P2 P3 1. Side-Lobe: any other direction in which some power is radiated is said to be a ‘side-lobe’.Secondary Radar DWR 3 μs 2 μs All Interrogation Pulses are 0. W P1 5 μs P2 P3 Mode 2 P1 8 μs P2 P3 • Mode 3/A P1 P2 P3 Figure 1: IFF Interrogations for Modes 1 . between receipt of the interrogation by the transponder and the transmission of the three pulses in reply. no perfectly directional antenna exists and all antenna transmit radio waves in directions other than the intended direction.5 μs. called the ‘Beamwidth’. Encrypted Mode 4: the challenge consists of four pulses. A fifth pulse (shown dotted) is used for side-lobe suppression. at intervals of 2 μs. However. These unwanted transmissions might have sufficient power to activate a transponder. each of duration 0. The time delay. (Beams and side-lobes are features of directional antennae. To solve these problems. Specifically: • Main Beam: the direction along which the largest amount of power is transmitted is called the ‘Main Beam’. only that target would receive and reply to the interrogation. For IFF.8 μs P4 P5 All Mode 4 Pulses are 0. omni-directional antenna. In an ideal world. In all modes that have been described above. The reply consists of three pulses. but from a separate.Secondary Radar. Additionally. The main consequence of beamwidth and sidelobes is that any IFF interrogation will probably not be confined to a single aircraft . It does not eliminate. Following the challenge are up to 32 coded pulses that must be decoded by the transponder before it replies. each of duration 0. the system must operate in such a way as to reduce its susceptibility to side-lobes and include a method of separating overlapping replies from several aircraft. To produce a narrow beam (e. Consequently.the technique identifies them and causes the system to ignore them. This will cause confusion as it will be difficult to identify which target gave which reply. Transponder Antenna: the antenna that is used by the transponder is omni-directional (it radiates in all directions). This will seldom be practicable. this represents 20 × 30 cm or 6 m. One is directional (has a beam) whilst the other is omni-directions (radiates equally in all direc- 27 Sep 05 . The Mode C challenge is similar to those shown.8 μs (800 ns) and the P2 pulse is always located 2 μs after the P1 pulse.8 μs Wide Mode 1 ANTENNA BEAMWIDTH & SIDE-LOBES hen a surveillance system issues an IFF interrogation then this would be intended for a specific target. it does not have a beam and does not have side-lobes. remove or cancel these signals . This has an angular spread. Details of the pulse timings are in Figure One.3 suppression (see later). The duration of each pulse is 0. is used by the interrogator to determine if the response is correct. 3°) would require an antenna whose diameter is twenty-times the wavelength. the interrogation signal contains a pulse that is shown in dotted lines.8 μs. not necessarily in the direction in which the antenna is pointing. which might be as much as 30° in both azimuth and elevation. The output power used for this pulse is greater than the power that radiates from a side-lobe but less than the power that radiates from the main beam.5 μs wide Mode 4 Reply Coded Delay P1 P2 P3 Figure 2: Mode 4 Interrogation and Reply H09 .

groups of eight binary digits . Replies that have been triggered by interrogators other than our own are given the acronym ‘FRUIT’ False Replies Un-synchronised in Time. it has no way of knowing from which direction the interrogation came. the transponder can both identify main-beam interrogations and reply to them and it can also identify side-lobe interrogations and not reply to them. There will be a short delay (3 μs) whilst the signal is analysed and the reply prepared. The replies to Modes 2. This antenna produces the same. so the SLS pulse will be relatively weak. Consequently. where the SLS pulse is much smaller (–9 dB. These can usually be identified because they are not synchronised with our interrogations . Since the velocity of radio waves is 300 metres per micro-second. receive a signal similar to that shown in Figure Three (Top). are transmitted from the main beam. ll transponders reply using a frequency of 1 090 MHz (1. The IFF signals contain bits that are grouped in threes and these can represent ordinary numbers between 0 and 7. this means that there will be overlapping replies when there are two aircraft on a similar azimuth. by comparing the strengths of the P1/P3 pulses and the P2 pulse. is transmitted via the omnidirectional antenna. Any reply that does not fit the expected time of arrival is un-synchronised in time with our interrogation and can be ignored. 2. This is described later. no IFF codes contain the digits 8 or 9. then the system can estimate when a reply should be received. relatively-low signal strength in all directions. 3.in other words. The normal interrogation pulses. respectively. 3/A and C all take the form of a series of pulses. 27 Sep 05 H09-3 H09 .Secondary Radar. P1 and P3. representing the ‘Ones’ and ‘Zeroes’ of a binary signal.2 km and 600 m.DWR Secondary Radar 8 μs 2 μs Main Beam Interrogation REPLIES A P3 P1 8 μs 2 μs P2 Side-Lobe Interrogation P1 P2 P3 Figure 3: Ideal Signals Received by a Transponder Top: When in the Main Beam of the Interrogator Bottom: When in a Side-Lobe tions). they are received when we didn’t request them. Consequently. FRUIT • F Thus. The response varies according to the mode used by the interrogator. consisting of several interrogations in rapid succession.or ‘garbled’ . The Side-Lobe Suppression (SLS) pulse. we need to consider the two possibilities: • Target in the Main Beam: any signal that is received by a transponder that is in the main beam of the antenna will be at its maximum strength (since the main beam is where the largest power is transmitted). therefore. then the reply will take another 50 μs to return to the interrogator. A target that is. The transponder should. which our system receives unintentionally. To understand how this system functions. P2 (shown dotted in Figures One and Two). IFF interrogations are carried out in short bursts.radio comms failed. Thus. Since the transponder has an omni-directional antenna. Interfering signals that are really responses to other interrogators’ signals can also be distinguished when they do not match our interrogation pattern.QXD . alse replies. However. Replies to Modes 1. Overlapping replies get mixed . the P1 and P3 pulses are much smaller. 15 km from the interrogator will receive the interrogation 50 μs after we transmit it. whose ranges differ by less than 3. One example code that is used is ‘7600’ . because this pulse is transmitted from the omni-directional antenna and it has the same strength in all directions. Generally. say.09 GHz). Mode 1 replies take about 21 μs and Mode 4 replies last for about 4 μs. How the interrogator deals with these is described later in this handout. the reply is transmitted in all directions.and the interrogator has to sort them out by a process called ‘degarbling’. 3/A and C take about 25 μs to transmit. un-synchronised in time (FRUIT) are replies from transponders that are being interrogated by other systems. or nearly onetenth as powerful) as the other pulses in the interrogating signal. You have probably encountered ‘Bytes’ . the P2 pulse remains at the same strength as before. Allowing for the time of travel of radio waves (at 300 metres per microsecond). depending on which mode was used. including those that lead to other interrogators that have not actually interrogated that transponder. The transponder can easily identify this signal as being from a side-lobe because the P2 pulse is bigger than the P1 and P3 pulses.that can represent ordinary numbers between 0 and 255. Target in a Side-Lobe: the signal that the transponder receives from the directional antenna is now much weaker than before.7 km.

aircraft that are replying to interrogations from other. distant systems might cause signals to be received by your system. except that of the main beam. signals that have come from the direction of the main beam because the signal strength in the omni-directional channel is lower than that in the main channel Signal Received via a Side-Lobe: the side-lobes are very insensitive. The omni-directional antenna. The transponder cannot perform any action that would prevents its signals’ being received by a sidelobe. The system still has to process them. Since IFF signals can reach hundreds of miles. one for the main antenna and one for the omni-directional antenna. The system requires two. so that a strong null appears where the main beam used to be and. If the signals that pass into and out of the antenna can be divided into left-half and right-half then there is a simple technique that can be used to produce the side-lobe suppression signals. The distance from the antenna to the line represents the relative amount of power that is transmitted in that direction.Secondary Radar. Their direction of maximum • Sum Beam (Dotted) SUM & DIFFERENCE ANTENNA OPERATION T he directional antenna that is used to transmit the interrogation signal is often made up of a number of separate antennae. so that their signals add together (sum). a subtraction of (difference between) the two signals. so it cannot use the same system of transmitting a comparison pulse. Sum Channel: here. The transponder has no directional antenna (it has no way of knowing which direction the interrogation arrived from. The radiation from the antenna is now a positive signal (in-phase) added to a negative signal (anti-phase) or. so such an antenna could not be used). perform a comparison of signal strengths to determine whether a signal entered either via the main beam or via a side-lobe. As before. In all directions. An illustration of the angular distribution around such an antenna is shown in Figure Four. Side-lobes will be always be present. The omni-directional antenna is moderately sensitive. identical receivers. and accepts. without any help from the transponder. Fortunately. as before. in other directions. the surveillance system can. I MB SL SL Sum Channel SL SL Figure 4: Illustrating the Main Beam (MB) and Numerous Side-Lobes (SL) of a Sum-Fed Antenna main beam. so that it is anti-phase. as they cannot be eliminated. The surveillance system must identify sidelobe signals using its own resources. and rejects. before deciding to take no action. a very complicated antenna is required. the signal strength is greater than before.QXD Main Null As before. as indicated in Figure Five. This has the effect of changing the power pattern. and even this does not give zero side-lobes. there are two possibilities: • Signal received in Main Beam: the main beam is very sensitive. The system identifies. so the signal strength is of medium strength. because it is not affected by direction. in other words. This means that replies from transponders can be received in the directions of a side-lobe. This is called an ‘antenna array’. so any signal received from that direction will be relatively strong. Transmitting: the P1 and P3 pulses are transmitted using the sum channel. placed side-by-side. The system identifies. signals that have come from the side-lobes because the signal strength in the main channel is weaker than the signal strength in the omni-directional channel. This is equally true when transmitting as when receiving. The same antennae that were used to transmit the interrogation are used to receive the replies. To reduce side-lobes. the signals that come from the wrong direction are identified and ignored. often at least twenty-wavelengths across. the left and right halves of the antenna are connected together in-phase. so any signal received will be very small. This is the usual way of operating the antenna and it produces the required Difference Channel Figure 5: Illustrating the Main Null and Beam Pattern of a Difference-Fed Antenna H09-4 27 Sep 05 H09 . Difference Channel: the signal to one side of the antenna is inverted.Secondary Radar DWR SIDE-LOBE SUPPRESSION (REPLIES) t is a general principle of antennae that their properties are the same for both transmit and receive. receives a signal of medium strength. the power is greater in the difference channel than it is in the sum channel. . again.

The P2 pulse is transmitted using the difference channel. Signals that originate from the direction of a sidelobe will appear more strongly in the difference channel. • Much of the processing of the replies is performed using digital memory and processors. as it is masked by permitted variations in transponder frequency. FIXING TARGET POSITION WITH IFF T he three pieces of information that are needed to locate a targe.this will easily be identified as valid. T 27 Sep 05 H09-5 H09 . DE-GARBLING W hen an interrogator receives overlapping replies to its interrogations then these might be either interleaved or overlapping. When an aircraft responds to a Mode C challenge. Consequently. are the azimuth. These can be ignored. which is considerably greater than any Doppler shift might be. It is very weak along the main beam. For example. different ways in order to determine the best means of processing them. Digital systems are also very good at processing encrypted signals. then some of the required information is denied. the rotation rate of the antenna is dependant on the maximum range of the radar. can be used to calculate the slant range. It is also possible to detect the final pulse (which must belong to the second reply) and to count back from that to find the complete set of pulses. However. Any signals that are received more strongly in the sum channel than in the difference channel will be valid. the pulses in the reply are of duration 0.this will easily be identified as invalid. using secondary radar. Once the first pulse has been received then the system knows when to expect each of the others. DOPPLER AND SECONDARY RADAR he expected Doppler shift on a signal of 1090 MHz (used for the reply) would be a maximum of 1 kHz for a target travelling at 300 ms–1. Consequently. the signal is travelling at the speed of light and takes quite a short time to travel to the target and back. the Doppler shift is virtually impossible to measure. Overlapping Replies: (synchronised) these cannot be separated. a repeat interrogation will probably succeed as the two targets concerned will not be moving at exactly the same velocity. causes this problem. because they must have originated in the main beam. It is relatively easy to ignore pulses that arrive at the wrong time. a transponder in the main beam will receive very strong P1 and P3 pulses but a weak P2 pulse . A transponder that is not in the main beam will receive a weak P1 and P3 pulse and a much stronger P2 pulse .Secondary Radar. Receiving: two receivers are needed: one to receive and process the sum channel and one for the difference channel. If the aircraft does not reply to our interrogation.provided that the pulses from the second reply fall between the pulses from the first. range and altitude.45 μs. it returns its altitude (height above sea level) in the reply. Consequently. (Although the antenna might be rotating.) However. in Mode 3/A.and the echo is compared with that original frequency. as it would help with our attack. Conventional Doppler radars use echoes of the frequency that they themselves transmitted . although some power appears in the side-lobes. it is unlikely that an aircraft with hostile intent would provide this information. combined with the possibility that there might be several aircraft at slightly different ranges or elevations. or if the reply is encrypted and cannot be decoded. rather than the analogue means that were used initially. so the time delays should be different on the next interrogation. the antenna does not have time to rotate very far. so that long-range radars have antennae that rotate more slowly than short-range radars. Furthermore. as the time of arrival of one reply is later by a whole number times 1.QXD . The transponder in a secondary radar generates its own frequency and the remote interrogator does not have access to it.45 μs and are spaced at intervals of 1. The azimuth can be estimated from the direction in which the antenna was pointing when it transmitted and received the signal. but fairly powerful in the other directions. Replies that are received like this are said to be ‘Garbled’. The are two possibilities: • Interleaved Replies: (un-synchronised) these can be processed using delay lines . The relatively wide beam of the interrogating antenna. The standard tolerance for the reply frequency is ± 3 MHz.DWR Secondary Radar power is along the main beam. The time interval. Digital signals may be stored and processed in several. between the issue of the challenge by the interrogator and the return of the reply.45 μs (the same as the interval between the pulses).

Secondary Radar DWR H09 .QXD H09-6 27 Sep 05 .Secondary Radar.

c. not reply Doppler effect is very small. The number of possible codes is: a. b. farther away . transmits and receives on the same frequency. interleaved replies. d 5. remembers the mode that it used for the interrogation. b 2.DWR Secondary Radar SELF-TEST QUESTIONS Q1. a comparison between the P1 and P2 pulses. returns its airframe ID number. the interrogator frequency is not sufficiently stable. b. IFF systems do not perform Doppler processing because: . d. there are too many pulses in the interrogation signal. does not use pulses. Q9. the time interval between interrogation and response. been triggered by other interrogators. requires the cooperation of the target.small = good! it remembers what is asked for IFF range up to 200 miles! Pulse P2 is for interrogation. Answers a. 12 256 512 4096 Q4. synchronised garbling can’t be fixed 212 = 4096 different values.signal takes longer. 27 Sep 05 H09-7 H09 . c 9. A secondary radar system (IFF) can obtain range information using: a. c. Q2. b. 3 and C have the same format. b. Q3. interrogated by a side-lobe. d. replies with an encrypted message. The interrogator knows which is which because it: a. IFF Coded replies to Modes 2. returns altitude information. a 3. the transponder frequency is not sufficiently stable. been interrogated by our signals. uses a delay line to extract the information. 0 – 7. ignores the signal. b. coded pulses that are contained in the response to Mode 3/A interrogation. c. c. d. compares the P3 pulse with the P1 pulse. pulse P2 has a shorter duration than pulse P3. the difference signal is bigger than the sum signal.QXD 1. no valid encryption system. d. The problem reply signal that can only be cured by sending another interrogation is: a. 0 – 4095 23 = 8 different values. d. Q10. d. perhaps from several targets in range. Many IFF replies are encoded using ‘Octal’ digits. pulse P2 is bigger than pulse P1. The replies to Modes 2. One difference between a primary radar and a secondary radar (IFF) is that the secondary radar: a. requires a reply from a transponder P2 is the SLS pulse . d 10. the amount of Doppler shift is too large. Q8. 0 0 0 0 – – – – 1 8 10 16. When an IFF transponder receives a Mode 3/A interrogation in which the P2 pulse is of greater power than the P1 pulse then it: a. b. b. un-synchronised in time (FRUIT) are caused by transponders that have: a. d. c. c. the signals can get mixed up or garbled. as it came from a side-lobe. c. synchronised. d. a comparison between the sum and difference channels. uses echoes from the target. Q5. When complex replies arrive. 3/A and C use 12bits to encode the data. c 4. c. un-synchronised. c. b. b. overlapping replies. When a reply enters an IFF system via a side-lobe then it can be identified because: a. Q6. a reply that enters via side-lobes. Q7. b.Secondary Radar. d. b. b 8. uses a decryption key. a 7. d. False replies. These correspond to decimal digits in the range: a. c. FRUIT. the pulses last for a longer time. b 6.

Secondary Radar.09. Not addressed to any particular aircraft.03: Describe the methods used to process problem signals H.02 Describe the method of obtaining range. Transponder identifies side-lobe transmissions by comparing pulses.01 H. H.09.02 Describe the use of the P2 pulse and omni-antenna for transmitting the interrogation.01. Describe the use of omni or sum/diff channels for recognising side-lobe reception. 3/A Outline the interrogation system used for Modes S Outline the interrogation system used for Mode 4 Three-pulse set. H.09.09. interval determines the mode. H.01 H. Describe the origin and processing of garbled signals Describe the operation of a variable resistor and potentiometer In simple terms without taking loading into account. Addressed to a specific aeroplane.02. State that the civilian version is un-encrypted Describe the sort of data that can be put into an IFF reply. Explain why Doppler information is unavailable.01.05: Describe the methods used to extract additional information from IFF replies H.05 Describe the origin and processing of FRUIT.01 H.03 H.05 H.09.04 H.Secondary Radar DWR Teaching Objectives Comments H. Describe the operating principles of secondary radar H.03. height and altitude data.01.06 State that participating vehicles require a transponder that transmits a reply to a coded interrogation.01 H.02.02: Describe the methods used to suppress side-lobes H.QXD H09-8 27 Sep 05 . Co-operative targets. Encrypted challenge & response. H. H09 . E. 2.09. Describe the simple interrogation signals used in Modes

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