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Africa - Other | Contracts - Awards | Europe - Other | Missiles - Air-Air | Other Corporation | Partnerships & Consortia

South Africa Orders IRIS-T Missiles

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IRIS-T on Gripen(click to view larger) IRIS-T (InfraRed Imaging System – Tail/thrust vector controlled) emerged after Germany pulled out of the joint US-UK-German ASRAAM program, following testing with its “new” East German MiG-29s and their AA-11/R-73 Archer SRAAMs. The Germans came to believe that ASRAAM’s entire philosophy was wrong, and sought to develop their own missile based on the A-11’s lessons. IRIS-T is now being developed by a multinational European consortium, whose in-house orders include Germany (1,250: Eurofighter and Tornado), Denmark (500, F-16s), Greece (350, F-16s), Italy (450, Eurofighter and Tornado), Netherlands (500, F-16s), and Spain (700, Eurofighter and F/A-18 Hornet). Consortium members Sweden and Norway are also expected to order IRIS-T; Saab’s JAS-39 Gripen serves as the missile’s test platform, and there is also talk of integrating the missile with the F-35 Lightning II. Now, South Africa becomes the missile’s 2nd export customer, after Austria ordered 25 at the end of 2005 to equip its Eurofighters. On May 28/08, Diehl BGT announced that the South African Air Force has picked the IRIS-T short range air-to-air missile to equip their Gripen fighter aircraft “as an interim solution until the local missile development – the A Darter – will be operational.” […]

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