To achieve superior air-to-air supremacy, control is crucial in an aerial combat situation. Undertaken as an international industrial project by six countries including Germany, Greece, Norway, Spain, Italy and Sweden, SAAB Infra-Red Imaging System Tail / Thrust Vector-Controlled (IRIS-T) is a short-range and highly manoeuvrable air missile for all types of aerial combats. From advanced imaging infra-red-seeker, thrust-vector control to a powerful motor, SAAB IRIS-T can engage any of its targets from a close range to a maximum range.
The first 1000 SAAB IRIS-T missiles were delivered in June 2008 and it said that several other countries also ordered the missiles. Prior to its official introduction, the first successful test trial was carried out in Sweden on 7th of November 2006 in an attempt to integrate SAAB IRIS-T missile functions to the Gripen aircraft to enhance Gripen aircraft capabilities in close range combats.
Unlike its previous model, SAAB IRIS-T has better manoeuvrability, way further acquisition range, increased hit accuracy, warhead effectiveness, and has better countermeasures. The SAAB IRIS-T can even destroy targets behind the launching aircraft.
Although the diameter, length, mass, position for centre-of-gravity, and interface of the missile launcher was designed to be compatible with the Sidewinder predecessor, SAAB IRIS-T is set to replace the existing American sidewinder as the new generation of air-to-air missiles for close range combats and self-defence on air and it is previously reported on 2006 that SAAB will produce more than 4000 SAAB IRIS-T missiles in the next few years.
The features of SAAB IRIS-T include:
The infra-red-seeker can display the targets in full detail, recognize and different targets, and suppress flares better. It has all-rounder capabilities and an acquisition range that works with the missile’s full kinematic range.
Propulsion and Thrust-Vector Control
The combination of the solid propellant motor with the thrust-vector control enables the missile to engage targets that are highly manoeuvrable in any situation from firing directly behind the aircraft up to the maximum range of the SAAB IRIS-T missile.
Fuze and Warhead System
Despite the fact that the SAAB IRIS-T will usually hit the target directly, the missile is also equipped with a proximity fuze and high explosive fragmented war head.