The South African Air Force is keeping up maintaining its small arsenal of Diehl BGT Defence IRIS-T short-range air-to-air missile (SRAAM) acquired for the SAAB Gripen advanced light fighter aircraft after May 2008. It this week awarded Diehl BGT Defence a R307 720 order for the “purging of missiles” and the rental of gas filling equipment, taking known expenditure on maintaining the interim fifth generation SRAAM acquired in May 2008 to R381 820.
The infra-red guided IRIS-T was acquired in May 2008 at a cost of R101.8 million 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.
Purging of missile and rental of gas filling equipment for the IRIS-T systems – extension of ETMG/2007/423
– TMG/S2011/0136 30 Jun 2011 R307 270,00 Diehl BGT Defence
– TMG/S2010/0125 19 May 2011 R31 950,00 Diehl BGT Defence
– TMG/S2010/0121 18 Nov 2010 R42 600,00 Diehl BGT Defence
Procurement of an interim short range Air-to-Air missile – extension of ETMG/2007/423
– UKZ/S2009/0110 22 Apr 2010 R601 192,50 Diehl BGT Defence
Interim fifth generation short range air-to-air missile for the RSA Gripen
– ETMG/2007/423 29 May 2008 R101 801 890,95 Diehl BGT Defence