Sunday, January 13, 2013

Diehl Defense Successfully Tested IRIS-T SL Surface-to-Air Missile

A prototype of a Surface-to-Air (SAM) variant of the Infra Red Imaging System Tail/Thrust Vector-Controlled (IRIS-T) air-to-air missile has been successfully tested in South Africa by Diehl Defense.

The validation trials of the radar-guided IRIS-T SL SAM included:
  •  target cueing by external radar data
  •  target acquisition after launch
  •  target tracking by the missile
All test objectives were met after the missile homed in on the target drone.

The IRIS-T origins can be traced back to an agreement made where the United States would develop a new Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM) and its European allies, principally the United Kingdom and Germany, a new Advanced Short Range Air-to-Air Missile (ASRAAM).

The original ASRAAM was criticized for its manoeuvrability, especially the lack of thrust vectoring, which led Germany to abandon the ASRAAM project and develop its own IRIS-T missile. The United States would also develop its own short-range air-to-air missile, citing delays with the ASRAAM.

The result was that instead of a single replacement missile for the AIM-9 Sidewinder missile, three short-range air-to-air missiles appeared:
  • the ASRAAM from the United Kingdom
  • the IRIS-T from Germany and partners
  • the AIM-9X from the United States
The up to 30 km range IRIS-T SL is supposed to be integrated with the Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS) in Germany, which is being developed in collaboration with the United States and Italy.

The medium range IRIS-T SL will also be complemented by the shorter range IRIS-T SLS. Unlike the heavily modified IRIS-T SL, the surface launched IRIS-T SLS retains the basic missile body and imaging infrared seeker of the original air launched IRIS-T.

Specifications IRIS-T
Weight: 87.4 kg
Length: 2936 mm
Diameter: 127 mm
Wingspan: 447 mm
Engine: Solid-fuel rocket
Max range: 25000 m
Speed: Mach 3
Guidance: Imaging Infrared seeker

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