The development of the A-Darter fifth generation short range air-to-air missile has reached the stage of industrialisation and subsequent production with first deliveries expected by February next year.
The 2014/15 Armscor annual report notes that “despite a total delay of approximately six months during the development phase, this ambitious development programme, co-funded by the Brazilian Air Force and the SA Air Force, is delivering good results.
“It will deliver an air-to-air missile that is functionally comparable with the most advanced missiles of this nature available in the world. Despite delays incurred during the development phase, the programme time scale has still been shorter than that of comparable missiles developed internationally.
“The programme encountered several difficulties on various aspects during this reporting period, but these difficulties were all successfully resolved without any significant further delays to the programme. During the past year, a number of test flight campaigns were conducted which culminated in the successful completion of the final development flight test campaign.
“These successful tests essentially signify the completion of the development phase of the project. The following reporting period will see the finalisation of the Critical Design Reviews of the complete missile and all its subsystems as a precursor to final qualification and attainment of the Product Baseline (PBL).
“Following the successful flight test campaigns conducted during the past year, and sufficient mitigation of most technical risks on the programme, a contract for the industrialisation and subsequent production of the operational missiles for the SAAF was placed with industry towards the latter part of the reporting period. First delivery of missiles is expected to be towards February 2017.”
During the year under review work was also done on integrating the A-Darter and a helmet mounted display capability (HMC) onto the SAAF’s Hawk Mk120 lead-in fighter trainers.
“A feasibility study was conducted to identify and reduce major integration risks, and it was concluded it is viable to integrate the missile and an HMC onto the Hawk aircraft with no major developmental risks associated with the programme.”
Armscor foresees a contract for the integration of the A-Darter missile onto the Hawk aircraft based at 85 Combat Flying School in Limpopo being concluded during the 2015/16 financial year.