SAAF maintaining IRIS-T
Written by defenceWeb, Monday, 23 May 2011
The infra-red guided IRIS-T was acquired as an interim weapon for Gripen of which the SAAF now have nine two-seat examples and nine single-seaters – including one still in Sweden. The fleet will stand at 26 by next year, a year before the first Denel Dynamics A-Darter 5th generation SRAAM is delivered to the SAAF. The IRIS-T (Infra Red Imaging System Tail/Thrust Vector-Controlled) missiles were delivered in late 2009 and debuted aboard the Gripen at a parade in January last year to mark the 90th birthday of the SAAF. The wikipedia claims the modern missile costs about €400 000 each.
Chief of the Air Force (CAF) Lt Gen Carlo Gagiano in 2009 said the SAAF was contemplating a beyond visual range AAM (BVRAAM) for Gripen, but added that high integration costs and a tight budget this would likely mean the choice of a weapon already integrated by the original equipment manufacturer. Denel Dynamics, the state arsenal business unit developing the A-Darter with Brazil under a billion rand programme dubbed Project Assegaai, had hoped to develop a local radar-guided BVRAAM for Gripen, provisionally called the T-Darter. SAAB is currently integrating the MBDA Meteor BVRAAM onto the Gripen for the Swedish Air Force.
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