There’s a new advanced dogfighting missile coming to town, and it won’t be coming from any of the standard players. Denel Pty Ltd.’s missile/UAV subsidiary Denel Dynamics has entered into a joint development agreement with Brazil’s Ministry of Defence and Forca Aerea Brasileira for the A-Darter short range air-air missile (SRAAM), signed as a government to government agreement via South Africa’s Armscor. The original contract was apparently signed in July-August 2006, but the formal cooperation launch was announced at the April 2007 Latin American Aerospace and Defence exhibition in Brazil.
With the SRAAM export market already crowded by high-end products like the AA-11/ R73 Archer (Russia), AIM-9X Sidewinder (USA), AIM-132 ASRAAM (UK), IRIS-T (Germany & European), and Python 4/5 (Israel), one may legitimately wonder where the Agile-Darter’s capabilities, design philosophy, and market positioning fit within this array. This article addresses the A-Darter, and those market issues.