Sagetech Avionics Mode 5 Micro IFF Transponder for Drones certified by DoD AIMS

The MX12B micro transponder, the world’s first to be certified by DoD AIMS to 17-1000 Mark XIIB, significantly expands the ability of NATO & allied forces to use drones in military missions

Sagetech Avionics announced that the DoD AIMS Program Office issued the world’s first 17-1000 Mark XIIB certification to Sagetech for its MX12B micro Mode 5 Identify Friend or Foe (IFF) transponder. This newly certified transponder enables NATO and allied militaries to deploy Mode 5 IFF capability on small drones, protecting the warfighter against rapidly increasing unmanned threats from enemy forces.

Certified Mode 5 IFF Transponders from a Proven Military Supplier

“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,” explained Tom Furey, CEO of Sagetech Avionics. “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.”

Over the past year, 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. With the new certification issued last week, the company has already delivered certified MX12B units to numerous customers to fulfill backlog purchase orders for new and ongoing programs.

The MX12B: Fully Certified to the Complete Mode 5 IFF Specification

The new MX12B is the world’s smallest certified Mode 5 IFF transponder, delivering 100% of the Mode 5 functionality from a package that is 93% smaller than traditional certified transponders.  With all the functionality integrated into a single unit, the MX12B is easy to purchase, integrate, and fly on both unmanned and manned aircraft. Features 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

“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,” said Matthew Hamilton, CTO of Sagetech. “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.”

For multi-mission UAVs, the MX12B preserves avionics designs across fleets through easy interchangeability with a civil version of the transponder, Sagetech’s MXS. The MX12B represents the next-generation of military certified transponders from Sagetech. Previously, Sagetech had certified its XPC AIMS Mode A/C transponder, now in service for more than a decade.

Expanding Drone Operations of NATO and Allied Militaries Worldwide

Dawn Zoldi (Colonel, USAF Retired), CEO of P3 Tech Consulting, internationally recognized drone law expert, and a 25-year Air Force veteran states, “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.”

“All currently certified aircraft transponders are certified to the older specification of AIMS 03-1000, Mark XIIA,” said Furey. “The MX12B is the only transponder – of any size – now certified to the newer specification of AIMS 17-1000 Mark XIIB.” 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 but in a form factor that saves at least 5 pounds for manned aircraft and drones.

Ordering and Availability

The MX12B is already in production, shipping to existing customers. The lead time for new orders is typically four weeks, depending on export licensing requirements.