Convincing Sidewinder air-to-ground mission
During a firing campaign with the new Laser Guided Sidewinder (LaGS) developed by Diehl Defence, all targets could be successfully engaged in Sweden in mid April. The laser-guided missiles fired from a Saab Gripen JAS 39 did not only hit the stationary ground targets but also the two moving targets – a target board measuring 2 by 3 meters pulled on a trailer as well as a driving SUV. All targets were successfully countered with one direct hit.
It was the second verification firing on the Northern Scandinavian test range in Vidsel, carried out by the Federal Office of Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support (BAAINBw) in cooperation with the Swedish procurement agency FMV. The campaign was supported and accompanied by a Diehl Defence expert team.
Since the early 1960s, Diehl Defence has been producing different types of the American Sidewinder in relatively large quantities for the European NATO partners and still offers worldwide refurbishment and modernization for the internationally successful air-to-air missile today.
In 2016, Diehl Defence received a development contract for the reconstruction of AIM-9L-Sidewinders to a "motor driven short-range effector" in order to be able to engage targets on the ground instead of targets in the air. For this purpose, the missile's guidance and control section has been modernized fundamentally. The infrared detector and signal processing unit of the seeker were replaced by a SAL (Semi Active Laser) sensor with modern digital signal processing.
Through the use of modern technologies, a proven but aging weapon system could be upgraded for a new task at relatively low costs, extending the mission spectrum of flying weapon systems. After having fulfilled the requirements for LaGS during the firing campaign, Diehl Defence now hopes to receive the envisaged purchase contract.