Following system validation one year ago, Diehl Defence´s IRIS-T Surface Launched (IRIS-T SL) demonstrated its full performance as the most advanced Short to Medium Range Surface-to-Air Missile (SAM). During this final firing campaign, concluding guided missile qualification at the Overberg Test Range in South Africa in January 2015, three guided firings were executed in different short- to medium-range and very low- to high-altitude scenarios. All of them resulted in direct hits of the target drones. To prove the capabilities of IRIS-T SL, jet target drones of different sizes were used performing a large variety of realistic evasive maneuvers.
The first target was engaged at a distance of more than 30 km. The IRIS-T SL missile flight time was about one minute reaching an altitude above 12 km. Despite an evasive maneuver involving changing direction and altitude, a direct hit of the target was achieved proving the medium range capabilities of IRIS-T SL.
The second firing was at very close range to the launch point to prove the missile´s short range engagement capabilities. During this firing, IRIS-T SL jettisoned its aerodynamic cover shortly after launch immediately initiating a hard turn-over maneuver towards the low flying target. The entire engagement lasted less than 10 seconds also ending with a direct hit.
The third firing was carried out against a very small, fast and agile target drone featuring high agility and extreme maneuvering capability. A direct hit was achieved at 12.5 km range and 1.5 km altitude even though the drone performed aggressive dive/pull-up evasive maneuvers.
The performance demonstration firings concluded a series of test firings as part of the IRIS-T SL system development. Having been contracted by the Federal Office of Bundeswehr for Equipment, Information Technology, and In-Service Support (BAAINBw), representatives of the BAAINBw as well as the German Air Force witnessed IRIS-T SL´s impressive performance in full accordance with the requirements of the German Air Force. IRIS-T SL is planned to be a component of the future German Air and Missile Defence System (TLVS).