The Saudi Air Force will acquire IRIS-T air-to-air guided missiles for its combat aircraft, which include the Eurofighter Typhoon and Tornado fighters.

The IRIS-T is a short-range, infrared-guided air-to-air missile that has been jointly developed by Germany, Greece, Italy, Norway, Spain and Sweden to replace its predecessor the AIM-9L Sidewinder missile.

IRIS-T has higher manoeuvrability, greater acquisition range, higher hit accuracy and warhead effectiveness and improved resistance to countermeasures than the sidewinder.

The missile provides extremely high-resolution, target discrimination and flare suppression and is also capable of engaging targets behind the launching aircraft.

The infrared seeking missile has been designed so as to fit onto any Sidewinder compatible platform.

The six-nation IRIS-T programme is managed by Germany’s Diehl BGT Defence.

In 2009, 700 missiles are due for delivery to the nations of the IRIS-T consortium and other nations.