Home > Missiles > IRIS-T

IRIS-T

Short-range air-to-air missile

IRIS-T missile

Currently the IRIS-T is one of the deadliest short-range air-to-air missiles

 
 
Country of origin German-led multinational program
Entered service 2005
Missile
Missile length 2.9 m
Missile diameter 0.13 m
Fin span ?
Missile weight 87.4 kg
Warhead weight ?
Warhead type HE-FRAG
Range of fire up to 25 km
Guidance Infrared homing

 

   The IRIS-T (Infra-Red Imaging System – Tail/Thrust Vector Controlled) is a next-generation short-range air-to-air missile intended to replace the aging AIM-9 Sidewinder. It is currently among the most advanced of its class, thanks to its high speed, state-of-art electronics, and nearly unmatched maneuverability.

   Originally, Germany was part of a joint project. The US was to develop a medium-range missile (resulting in the AIM-120 AMRAAM), while Germany, Norway, Canada, and England were given charge of the short-range project. However, when the Cold War ended, Germany decided in 1995, along with Greece, Italy, Norway, Sweden, and Canada, to develop a missile with shorter range and more maneuverability. Britain proceeded with its design, and the ASRAAM entered service soon after. The German-led project took longer, especially because Canada dropped out, but in 2005 it entered service.

   Since the IRIS-T primarily replaces the venerable Sidewinder, any aircraft that can fire the AIM-9 can also fire the IRIS-T, making it an attractive replacement choice.

   This air-to-air missile utilizes infrared homing, more commonly known as heat seeking. This means that the IRIS-T tracks its targets by following their infrared signature. It is also known as heat seeking, because infrared light is radiated primarily by heat. However, unlike many other contemporary missiles, the IRIS-T can “see” the target, allowing it to distinguish between countermeasures and its target. Also, this missile has high resistance to electronic countermeasures.

   The IRIS-T is one of the most deadly missiles today. It has a powerful motor, which gives it a speed of Mach 3 (3 703 km/h), enough to quickly reach most enemy aircraft and destroy them with its lethal high-explosive proximity fuse-triggered fragmentation warhead. Its thrust-vector/tail control system grants it such maneuverability that it can make turns of 60 g without much trouble. This massively outclasses even the most maneuverable fighter aircraft of today, as they can only go to 12 g. However, the IRIS-T is somewhat lacking in range—25 kilometers, a number that falls far short of the ASRAAM’s 50-kilometer range.

   The IRIS-T includes a number of advanced features. These include Lock-On Before Launch (LOBL); Lock-On After Launch (LOAL), allowing the IRIS-T to target aircraft behind its launch platform, to be carried internally, and to give targets far less warning that it is tracking them, improving hit chances; and the precision to intercept incoming missiles.

   The IRIS-T has had a fairly successful export history, with missiles sold to Austria, Belgium, Germany, Greece, Italy, Norway, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, and Thailand, at the cost of about $455 000 each. Note that this is a few hundred thousand dollars less expensive than the AIM-9X.

 

Variants

 

   IRIS-T: the standard model.

   IDAS: a modified version for naval use, intended to attack airborne, naval, and surface targets. It is currently being adapted for use on the German Type 212 submarine. This will make it the first missile to give submarines the ability to engage aerial threats, even while submerged. It is fiber-optic guided and has a reduced range (20 km).

   IRIS-T SL: a surface-launched (hence the SL) variant of the IRIS-T that also incorporates a number of improvements including a better motor, improved range, GPS, and a data link. It comes in two variants: the SLS (short-ranged), mounted on a Unimog 5000 vehicle, and the SLM (medium-ranged).

   SAM Variants: both Sweden and Norway have decided to develop a Surface-to-Air Missile (SAM) version of the IRIS-T. For Sweden, it will replace the aging RBS 70, while Norway’s will be a modification of the NASAMS (Norwegian Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System), which is generally equipped with the AIM-120 AMRAAM. Deliveries of this system are slated to begin in 2018.

 

Related Weapons

 

   ASRAAM: this British missile entered service in 1998. It has been a mild export success and is one of the most powerful missiles of its class, with high maneuverability (up to 60 g), exceptional range (up to 50 km), a devastating 10-kilogram warhead, and state-of-art electronics. It is also fully compatible with all Sidewinder-equipped aircraft.

   R-73: known in the West as the AA-11 Archer, this infrared-guided Russian short-range air-to-air missile entered service in 1984. It has high maneuverability, a 7.4 kg warhead, speed of 3 073 km/h, and depending on the variant, a range of 20-40 kilometers. It currently has more than 15 operators and can be used on a wide variety of Russian fighters, interceptors, ground attack aircraft, and attack helicopters.

   AIM-9X Sidewinder: in service since 2003, the AIM-9X is the latest version of the venerable Sidewinder. It features thrust-vectoring control, improved computing, and a reduced drag design for better speed, maneuverability, and resistance to countermeasures.

 

The Tiger

   Article by The Tiger

   Want to publish your own articles? Visit our guidelines for more information.

 
IRIS-T missile

Expand image

IRIS-T missile

Expand image

IRIS-T missile

Expand image

IRIS-T missile

Expand image

IRIS-T missile

Expand image
 
IRIS-T missile

Expand image

IRIS-T missile

Expand image

IRIS-T missile

Expand image

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Home  Home     Aircraft     Helicopters     Tanks     Armored Vehicles     Artillery     Trucks     Engineering Vehicles     Missiles     Naval Forces     Firearms     |     Contact Us
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

© ARG 2006 - 2017
www.Military-Today.com IRIS-T