April 7, 2009 -- The South African Air Force should receive its order of Diehl BGT Defence IRIS-T short range air-to-air missile (SRAAM) towards the “end of the year”, the chief of the South African Air Force says. “It’s on track and everything is fine, Lt Gen Carlo Gagiano says.
The SAAF last May ordered a small supply of the high-tech IRIS-T (Infra Red Imaging System Tail/Thrust Vector-Controlled) SRAAM to arm its growing fleet of Gripen advanced light fighter aircraft.
The wikipedia says the modern missile costs about €400 000 each. It is not known how many missiles SA has bought.
The IRIS-T will arm the Gripen as an interim solution until a local missile, the Denel Dynamics A-Darter, becomes available.
Diehl BGT Defence says the missiles will be fully operational “in the course of 2009”.
Meanwhile, Gagiano said he was pleased with progress in the development of the new-generation SA missile. “The A-Darter is looking very good. The feedback I got is that so far it is going very well,” Gagiano told journalists Thursday after an air capability demonstration at the Roodewal bombing range in Limpopo that included two Gripen.
“We will definitely procure missiles coming out of our own industry as soon as they are ready,” he says.
The IRIS-T was on display at Africa Aerospace & Defence show, in Cape Town, in September. (DefenceWeb)
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