RF Tags, developed by General Atomics, under a U.S. Army CERDEC I2WD program will provide reliable combat identification (CID) of friendly forces, through when viewed by imaging radar sensors (SAR).
The Athena RF Tag system uses coherent gain block RF tag architecture, developed by Sandia National laboratory and demonstrated in field tests with a wide range of surveillance and fire control radars. The system operates on the same channels used by the radars, transmitting low-power tag data “buried” in the radar clutter, to eliminate detection and location by enemy eavesdropping.
The tag is detected by the radar system, and identifies the platform when seen on the radar screen of the surveillance or attack aircraft with zero latency. Current RF tags use analog processing, but future versions could utilize digital RF memory (DRFM) for more flexible performance. These tags have already been tested with Lynx SAR radars and Joint STARS platforms, as well as F-15E and F-16s radars. The system will also be compatible with earlier models of F-16s, AV-8B, F/A-18 Hornets and Predator UAVs.