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Weapon - Air-to-Air - IRIS-T

Weapon Stats:

Speed: Mach 3
Range: 25 km, 16 miles
Length: 2.936 m, 9.6 ft
Width: 0.447 m, 1.5 ft
Diameter: 12.7 cm, 0.42 ft
Weight: 89 kg, 196 lb
Propulsion: Solid-propellant rocket motor.


Status: Current
Category: Air-to-Air

The IRIS-T (Infra Red Imaging System Tail/Thrust Vector-Controlled) short range air-to-air missile (SRAAM) was selected by the South African Air Force to equip the Gripen fighter aircraft. The IRIS-T was chosen to arm the SAAF Gripen as an interim solution until the local missile development - the V3E A Darter - will be operational.

Armscor placed a contract for the procurement of IRIS-T in the second half of May 2008. In the course of 2009, the IRIS-T missile will be fully operational with the Gripens of the South African Air Force. The Swedish Air Force operates the IRIS-T missile on its Gripens as well.

The IRIS-T is a six nation program under German lead with Diehl BGT Defence acting as industrial prime contractor. Diehl BGT Defence is supported in South Africa by Aerospace Consulting and Services GmbH.

Conceived as a replacement for the legacy AIM-9 Sidewinder variants, the IRIS-T AAM is an agile short-range, all aspect imaging infrared (IIR) homing missile powered by a Nammo solid propellant motor. Similar in size and centre of gravity to the AIM-9L/M Sidewinder, IRIS-T is some 2.94 m in length, 127 mm in diameter, with a flight control surfaces span (wing) of 350 mm, and a total weight of 89 kg. Equipped with an 11.4 kg high-explosive (HE) (fragmentation) warhead fitted with a radar-assisted proximity fuze, the missile features with lock-on before launch (LOBL) and lock-on after launch (LOAL) capabilities for target engagement at ranges out to 13.5 n miles (25 km).

High ECM-resitance, target discrimination and flare suppression and extreme close-in fight capability (60 g, 60°/s) and 5 to 8 times longer head-on firing range than Sidewinder AIM-9L. Even targets behind the launching aircraft can be destroyed successfully by IRIS-T. It utilizes a solid-propellant rocket motor.