German missile system house Diehl BGT Defence’s new IRIS-T SL (Surface Launched) surface-to-air missile has made its maiden flight at Denel’s OTB Test Range in the southern Cape.
The company says all objectives were achieved during the ballistic test in the presence of representatives of the national customer: safe missile launch from a carrier vehicle; demonstration of the missile´s flight-mechanical and aerodynamic characteristics; operational performance of the newly developed rocket motor as well as controlled opening of the aerodynamic shroud.
The IRIS-T SL is a further development of the IRIS-T short-range infra-red guided air-to-air missile, a European cooperation programme currently in series production.
IRIS-T is employed by South Africa as primary air-to-air armament for the Saab Gripen advanced light fighter aircraft.
Seven European nations and Saudi Arabia also use the weapon, costly on the Eurofighter Typhoon II.
The missile´s further development for its surface-to-air role consists in a rocket motor upgrade, equipment with a data link as well as GPS-aided navigation.
The target spectrum ranges from aircraft and helicopters to unmanned aerial systems and missiles.
“Thus, the requirements for a modern guided missile for ground-based air defence have been implemented with a distinct increase in range,” a Diehl media release says.
IRIS-T SL´s modern system architecture enables easy integration in existing and future air defence systems.
Diehl adds that the IRIS-T SL is to complement the US Raytheon Patriot PAC-3 as secondary missile of the German MEADS programme.