Diehl continues IRIS-T surface-to-air testing at Overberg Test Range


Diehl Defence has successfully tested its IRIS-T SLM Ground Based Air Defence System at the Overberg Test Range, in the presence of military representatives from 16 countries.

Diehl has tested the IRIS-T SL (Surface Launched) missile at Overberg before, but the tests conducted earlier this month used different hardware and a new command and control system.

The configuration tested on January 14 consisted of the IRIS-T SL launcher, new CEAFAR active phased array radar from CEA Technologies in Australia, the BMD-Flex command, control and communication system from Terma in Denmark and the Oerlikon Skymaster battle management system from Rheinmetall Air Defence in Switzerland. Diehl Defence integrated all components and provided the missiles and launcher. The company stressed that the IRIS-T SLM GBADS is a modular design featuring open system architecture, allowing it to use a variety of radars and control systems.

During testing, the IRIS-T SLM detected a low flying EADS Do-DT 25 jet powered target drone and launched a missile at a range of 20 km, successfully destroying the target. During the entire flight, target data updates from the radar were provided to the missile through a data link, allowing the missile’s infrared seeker to lock onto the target in flight, Diehl Defence reported.

The company said it had for the first time demonstrated the full functionality of the IRIS-T SLM (Surface Launched Medium Range) system comprising its own setup for radar, tactical operations centre (TOC) and launcher in a real live firing.

January’s launch, witnessed by nearly 90 visitors from 16 countries around the world, was preceded by further test firings on November 4 and 8 as part of the development programme for the German Federal Office of Equipment, Information Technology and Utilization of the Bundeswehr (BAAINBw).

During these test, both missiles destroyed their targets with direct hits ,confirming the guided missile system´s expected precision, Diehl said. In one case the maximum distance lay far beyond 20 kilometres. The missiles were launched at Do-DT 25 target drones.

Diehl test fired the IRIS-T SL for the first time on October 9, 2009, at Overberg. Further firings were conducted there in December 2012.

It is being developed for Germany as a stop-gap to the Medium Extended Air Defence System (Meads) being produced by Lockheed Martin and MBDA and is a ground-launched version of the infrared homing IRIS-T in service with the South African Air Force. It has a sharp nose cone to reduce drag that is separated prior to approaching a target.

Diehl Defence said the mobile, medium-range systems provide comprehensive 360 degree protection against air attacks by aircraft, helicopters, cruise missiles and guided weapons. They allow simultaneous engagement of several targets even at very short distances thanks to extremely short reaction times.

The Denel Overberg Test Range (DOTR) is a missile and aircraft test range that provides turnkey flight test, system certification and performance evaluation services for missiles, rockets, bombs, guided munitions and aircraft. The range can manage and carry out air, ground and sea flight tests. It has the facilities to evaluate and measure the performance of aircraft, their avionics systems and their carriage and release of ordnance. The range is also able to conduct anti-tank tests, helicopter-based tests and electronic warfare tests.

Weapons tested at the DOTR include the Taurus Systems KEPD-350 stand-off missile, the MBDA Storm Shadow stand-off missile, the IRIS-T, MBDA Starstreak, MBDA Mistral air defence missiles and the Denel Dynamics Umkhonto surface-to-air missile and A-Darter air-to-air missile.

The range was active last year, testing the Denel Dynamics Umbani precision guided bomb kit and Umkhonto- surface-to-air missile, the IRIS-T, an unqualified UAV system for a Southeast Asian customer and providing remote telemetry support from Invercargill, New Zealand during the launch of the ATV4 spacecraft. The DOTR also provided telemetry support during the VEGA/Demosat (VV02) launch from French Guiana.