US company supplying cooling component on A-Darter


American company Marotta Controls has been contracted to supply cooling components for the infrared seeker on Denel Dynamics’ A-Darter air-to-air missile.

Marotta will supply its MPACT pure air compression technology in its first export of the MPACT system, the company announced last week.

The A-Darter is a fifth generation Imaging Infrared short range air-to-air missile designed by Denel Dynamics in co-operation with Brazil. The A-Darter missile may be designated to a target by using the aircraft’s radar, a helmet sighting system or the missile’s own autonomous scan feature. The seeker’s large look-angles and the airframe’s agility enable high off-bore sight helmet designated firings. Long-range intercepts beyond infrared detection range are also possible with the lock-on after launch capability of the A-Darter.

Marotta said that from missile load to launch, the MPACT system will provide the A-Darter with a continuous flow of pure dry air to cool the imaging infrared seeker, enhancing the missile’s capability and efficiency in clear and adverse weather. Because the air is virtually free of moisture and other impurities, MPACT reduces the risk of seeker fouling or freezing, improving reliability and combat readiness.

With support from Denel Dynamics the integration of A-Darter onto the wingtips of the South African Air Force’s (SAAF’s) JAS 39 Gripen fighters has already been completed and the integration of the A-Darter onto the SAAF’s Hawk Mk 120 trainer aircraft including MPACT in the launchers is currently taking place.

Under the agreement with Denel Dynamics, Marotta Controls will provide Denel Dynamics with both development and production units. Ground testing of development units has commenced, with flight testing to follow in 2016. Manufacturing and delivery of the MPACT systems will start soon after completion of the ground testing on the development units.
“The Marotta Controls MPACT is a significant addition to the A-Darter Missile System Solution. It provides improved operational performance including unlimited mission time for the A-Darter missile and greatly enhances the deployability of the missile system with significantly reduced life cycle costs. Marotta Controls demonstrated a very professional approach toward a potential client by efficiently adapting the MPACT system to meet the cooling requirement of A-Darter,” said Marcus de Jonge, A-Darter Missile Programme Manager at Denel Dynamics.
“Adding a prestigious international customer such as Denel Dynamics to our client roster validates our commitment and ability to support advanced weapon systems globally,” said Michael Leahan, senior vice president of business development and chief sales officer. “We are proud to provide our advanced technology to Denel and welcome the opportunity to continue vital development work on advanced missile systems in the future.”

Over 1 500 units of Marotta’s MPACT pure air compression technology have previously been delivered to the U.S. Navy to provide infrared seeker cooling for the Sidewinder missile on the F/A-18A/F Hornet/Super Hornet.