AlfaT8 wrote:The only thing that still worries me is how Russia intends to prevent the personnel IFF from being compromised??
If someone captures and studies this sight system - then they would know how to decrypt Russian IFF signals - but they wouldn't know how to encrypt/create them.
This is called asymmetric cryptography.
In such a system; one key is kept private, while the other is public.
Now imagine - that you have a block of data - say 10 megabytes big. Both parties (that's to say both the weapon sight, and whatever device emits the friendly IFF signal) have this same identical block of data in their respective storage space.
The friendly IFF device creates a digital signature on the basis of that block of data, using the private key - and then transmits that signature..
..which the sight promptly picks up, and then uses its public key to process that signature and compare the result with the copy of that block of data it has. If the result is as expected - then the system knows that's its a friendly that the signal came from.
Now.. let's say that the enemy kills a soldier and captures his gun & sight, sending it to their research labs. What will the enemy have now? They will have the public key - and they will have that 10Mb block of data.
Which means that they will be able to interpret Russian IFF signals; so that 'friendly' Russians will show up as blue to them instead of red.
But what good will that do them? They already know who the enemy is and how he looks like - and if they bothered researching the Russian IFF receivers/sights then they probably have an IFF system of their own that would already perform the function of telling them who the bad guys are; so Russian IFF receivers would be useless for them.
Now, I say this - but there is a flaw to this system. Which is of course - that in the same way as you have IFF receivers such as those sights; you must also have IFF transmitters that would be able to broadcast whether the soldier/vehicle in question is a friendly or not in the first place.
And if the enemy captures THAT, then the system will be compromised altogether.
Which is why I suspect that in practice, if they do use assymetric cryptography - they would change either the keys in both the receivers & transmitters, or the common block of data stored in both on them - on a fairly regular basis. All it would take is a quick firmware update of both sets of devices, after verification with some command vehicles, officers or what not. Perhaps they might be issued keys for manual input, or physically via memory cards; as having this stuff update automatically would mean that any gear the enemy captured will update automatically too.
But of course there could be problems associated with this - what if some soldiers are stranded, surrounded, their satellite uplinks or comms are destroyed, etc...?
There could also be measures taken to protect the transmitters of IFF signals; so instead of every soldier having a transmitter lets say - they might have a relay device, that reroutes/retransmits an IFF signal coming from some command vehicle in such a way so that it appears that the signal is coming from them - and such a device would only function at all within a certain radius of the command vehicle.
But there are problems with this approach too, as you might imagine.
I haven't had much time to think about this - but it's an exciting topic you must agree. There are many possibilities and it'd be interesting to see what the Russian military might go for - if they decide to go for an IFF system at all (IMO, it might just be more trouble than it's worth).