August 2020

Summer Holiday Activities Week Three – IFF

This week’s activities are all about Identifying aircraft and solving Codes.

Radar was an important part of the defence system that helped keep us all protected in World War Two. The RAF relied on radar but also on observers on the ground who sent their information to operations rooms and to fighter command.

From here, defence measures like anti-aircraft guns, searchlights and aircraft could be directed to the best place.


Have a go at identifying the aircraft.

There are aircraft identification sheets to download.

This type of information was used by the Royal Observer Corp to identify the aircraft crossing the English Channel and North Sea.  Below is the line of command used when aircraft were spotted.


IFF – what does this mean?

Identification Friend or Foe

It was really important that aircraft were identified as friends or foe (foe means enemy) and to begin with it was impossible to tell.

Very quickly a new way was developed so radar operators could tell the difference. It was called IFF Identification Friend or Foe.

How did it work?  A radio tone was sent from friendly aircraft in a very regular pattern which helped radar operators know who was who!


How good are your observational skills? Download the Spot the Difference picture and see if you can find the nine variations between the pictures.


Code Cracking

Being able to send secret messages is very important especially in times of conflict when you don’t want an enemy to know what you might be doing! Here’s a code to crack – have a go?  (hint – Google ‘Pig Pen’ first)

Good luck!


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Summer Holiday Activities Week Three – IFF