The South African Air Force (SAAF) has awarded a contract to Diehl BGT Defence for the maintenance of infrared imaging system tail / thrust vector-controlled (IRIS-T) short-range air-to-air missiles (SRAAM).

The interim maintenance order includes the purging of missiles and the rental of gas filling equipment.

The missile was acquired by SAAF as an interim weapon for the SAAB Gripen advanced light fighter aircraft in May 2008 at a cost of R101.8m ($15m).

IRIS-T is the only SRAAM that provides an anti-missile capability in self-defence and also provides full launch capability to the pilot under all modern countermeasure conditions, including blinding laser.

The first Denel Dynamics A-Darter fifth-generation SRAAM is expected to be delivered to the SAAF in 2013.