Aerial Warfare

Diehl Defence Awarded Contract Procurement of More than 1,200 IRIS-T for Germany

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Diehl Defence Awarded Contract Procurement of More than 1,200 IRIS-T for Germany

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Diehl Defence Awarded Contract Procurement of More than 1,200 IRIS-T for Germany
Diehl Defence Awarded Contract Procurement of More than 1,200 IRIS-T for Germany

On December 20, Annette Lehnigk-Emden, President of the Federal Office of Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support (BAAINBw) and Helmut Rauch, CEO Diehl Defence, signed a framework contract for the procurement of more than 1,200 IRIS-T (InfraRed Imaging System – Tail/Thrust Vector Controlled) guided missiles for Germany. It also is called AIM-2000. The contract was realized in the shortest possible time by the IRIS-T Project Management Office (PMO), which is located within the BAAINBw, in order to meet the additional demand of the long-time IRIS-T consortium leader Germany.

IRIS-T is the European, world’s most advanced short-range air-to-air missile, developed and produced under the leadership of Diehl Defence in cooperation with the industry consortium partners from Sweden, Spain, Italy, Greece, Norway and Austria. The IRIS-T project reflects the capability of European cooperation in the defence sector and demonstrates the outstanding developments that the European defence industry is capable of. As a member of the IRIS-T 6 nations development consortium, Germany is a competence partner that is and will continue to play a leading role in the further development of the missile.

Framework contract for IRIS-T guided missiles signed
Framework contract for IRIS-T guided missiles signed. (Photo by Diehl Defence)

Meanwhile, the air forces of 12 nations rely on the outstanding capabilities of IRIS-T. The missile was developed in the late 1990s–early 2000s by a German-led program to produce a short to medium range infrared homing air-to-air missile to replace the AIM-9 Sidewinder in use by some NATO member countries at the time. Since its introduction in 2005, more than 5,000 guided missiles have been delivered. IRIS-T is among the standard armament of the Eurofigther/Typhoon and is integrated into the platforms F-16, Gripen, Tornado, EF-18, KF-21,F-5E, FA50 and IAR-99. Thus, the future viability of IRIS-T is ensured by the 6 nations development consortium.

Not only enemy fighter aircraft can be engaged, but also attacking air-to-air and surface-to air missiles. The pilot is even able to successfully counter attacks from the rear without having to change the aircraft’s course. The basis missile is incrementally further developed and will continue to set benchmarks with new capabilities in its original air-to-air role. Surface-to-air defence systems variants came later, with the short-range IRIS-T SLS fielded in 2015, and the medium-range IRIS-T SLM fielded in 2022. The IRIS-T SLM can counter surface-to-air missiles and cruise missiles, including low-flying, stealthy missiles such as the Kalibr.

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