Successful A-Darter qualification flight test


South African missile system house Denel Dynamics successfully completed the guided missile qualification test series for it’s leading wingtip fifth generation Imaging Infrared (IIR) Short Range Air-to-Air Missile (SRAAM) System.

Four guided firings were conducted at Denel Overberg Test Range (DOTR) in Western Cape. Each firing was executed in different air combat manoeuvre scenarios and successfully demonstrated the A-Darter missile’s full performance as an advanced short range air-to-air missile.

All the guided firings were done against Denel manufactured SKUA high speed target drones.

The first was conducted in a lock-on-after-launch (LOAL) configuration using the advanced algorithm suite. The missile acquired the target late in it’s free-flight phase and intercepted the SKUA with a direct hit, demonstrating the accuracy of the missile’s target predictor. This also demonstrated that long range intercept beyond IR detection range is possible with the A-Darter’s LOAL capability.

The second test was conducted in a chase air combat manoeuvre configuration at close range to prove high off-boresight launch capability of the missile under high g-forces. The missile performed a hard 180 degree manoeuvring turn after launch to successfully intercept the target and demonstrated the seeker’s large look-angles and the airframe’s high agility enables high off-bore sight firings. The missile’s thrust vector control demonstrated the exceptional manoeuvrability of the missile.

The third and fourth tests were conducted in blow-through air combat manoeuvre configuration with electronic-counter-measures. The missile’s electronic-counter-counter-measures algorithm suite demonstrated its design to specified capability.

The guided missile qualification tests were witnessed by representatives from Armscor, South African Air Force (SAAF) and the Brazilian Air Force. These tests demonstrated missile performance in full accordance with client requirements and concluded a series of guided test firings conducted as part of the A-Darter missile system development programme.

The A-Darter missile may be designated using the aircraft’s radar, helmet sight or its effective autonomous scan feature if radar silence is required.

A-Darter’s advanced digital processing capability ensures improved performance in terms of image detection, false target rejection, electronic-counter-counter-measures and guidance and control.

The missile can be integrated on the latest fourth generation and older fighter aircraft platforms. The A-Darter is already been fully integrated and cleared with no aircraft/missile launch restrictions on the JAS-39 Gripen C/D. The A-Darter fifth-generation Imaging Infrared (IIR) SRAAM will enhance the prospective client platform’s lethality.

Denel Dynamics has received an expression of interest in the A-Darter from prospective clients and is confident the missile’s performance, given the completed guided missile qualification test series, will meet the expectations of the prospective clients.