Diehl Defence has successfully completed guided missile qualification of its new infrared imaging system-tail / thrust vector controlled surface-launched (IRIS-T SL) missile system.
The three guided firings were undertaken at the Overberg Test Range in South Africa. They were executed in different short- to medium-range and very low- to high-altitude scenarios, and successfully demonstrated IRIS-T SL’s full performance as the most advanced short- to medium-range surface-to-air missile.
All of the firings resulted in direct hits of the jet target drones of different sizes that performed a broad spectrum of realistic evasive manoeuvres.
During first trial, the missile reached an altitude of more than 12km within one minute of launch. It scored a direct hit against the target despite an evasive manoeuvre, involving changing direction and altitude, proving its medium range capabilities.
The second test was conducted at very close range to the launch point to prove the missile´s short range engagement capabilities. It saw the missile jettison its aerodynamic cover shortly after launch, immediately initiating a hard turn-over manoeuvre towards the low flying target.
The entire engagement lasted less than ten seconds and ended with a direct hit of the target drone.
IRIS-T SL scored a direct hit against a very small, fast and agile target drone in the third firing. It featured high agility and extreme manoeuvring capability at 12.5km range and 1.5km altitude, even though the drone performed aggressive dive / pull-up evasive manoeuvres.
Trials were witnessed by the representatives from the Federal Office of Bundeswehr for Equipment, Information Technology, and In-Service Support (BAAINBw) and the German Air Force (Luftwaffe). They demonstrated the missile’s performance in full accordance with the Luftwaffe’s requirements, and concluded a series of test firings undertaken as part of the IRIS-T SL system development programme.
The IRIS-T SL has already been ordered by BAAINBw to serve as a component of the future German air and missile defence system (TLVS).
The missile is effective against all types of aircraft, helicopters, cruise missiles, guided weapons, air-to-surface missiles, and anti-ship missiles. It also has a high probability of kill against unmanned aerial vehicles, and other small manoeuvring threats, at very-short and medium-range distances.
Image: IRIS-T missile is planned to serve as a component of the future German air and missile defence system. Photo: courtesy of Stahlkocher.