Lockheed Marti, Diehl Defence and Saab announced the Falconâ„¢ air defense weapon system as the short and medium-range air defense solution for current and emerging threats. Falcon is intended to address “a critical gap in short- and medium-range ground-based air defence” to defeat “current and emerging threats”, including weaponised unmanned aircraft systems (UASs), cruise missiles, and fixed- and rotary-wing platforms capable of delivering ordnance at extended ranges. Falcon integrates Diehl’s 40-kilometer range Infra-Red Imaging System Tail/Thrust Vector-Controlled (IRIS-T) SLM interceptor and vertical launcher, Saab’s 360-degree AESA Giraffe 4A radar through Lockheed Martin’s flexible SkyKeeper command and control battle manager. Falcon’s open architecture allows the system to easily integrate into any air operations center. Threats such as unmanned aerial systems carrying lethal payloads, cruise missiles that can attack from any direction, and fixed and rotary winged aircraft capable of delivering ordnance at extended ranges, demand a technologically advanced solution that Falcon delivers.
“Our international customers are looking for the next generation short and medium range air defense solution. Falcon is threat driven and ready now,” said Scott Arnold, Lockheed Martin vice president and deputy for Integrated Air and Missile Defense. “Falcon is a great example of working with our customers to identify potential gaps and find rapid-response solutions to take on today’s evolving threats.”
The Diehl IRIS-T SLM is a highly maneuverable interceptor fired from a 360-degree vertical launcher with the ability to engage multiple targets simultaneously in all weather conditions. The Saab Giraffe 4A AESA radar offers high discrimination capabilities and leverages gallium nitrate technology to detect and track both fixed and rotary-wing aircraft and drones, while simultaneously featuring an Automatic Sense & Warn functionality. Lockheed Martin’s SkyKeeper command and control battle manager gives commanders unparalleled situational awareness with real-time early warning of incoming threats and optimized engagement solutions for critical decision making. Together these elements make the Falcon weapon system the only integrated short and medium-range missile defense system available in the world with the capabilities required to defeat current and emerging air threats.
A medium-range variant of the IRIS-T-SL short-range imaging IR-guided SAM – itself a derivative of the IRIS-T air-to-air missile – the IRIS-T-SLM interceptor is an all-weather, IR terminal homing effector. The interceptor is equipped with data link that transmits target information from the ground radar to the missile, and a high-explosive fragmentation warhead with an impact/active radar proximity fuze detonation system.