The IRIS-T guided missile was developed as aircraft armament for air-to-air missions within a European cooperation program.
The combination of thrust vector and aerodynamic control provides the missile with extremely high agility. An additional technological leap was achieved with the imaging IR seeker head in conjunction with intelligent image processing. Target designation is accomplished by airborne radar or via the pilot's helmet sight. IRIS-T´s outstanding features even permit engaging targets behind the aircraft as well as interception of opponents`missiles.
In addition to the consortium partners Germany (pilot nation), Greece, Italy, Norway, Sweden and Spain, further countries worldwide decided to procure IRIS-T. It was selected as standard weapon for the Eurofighter, F-16, EF-18, Tornado and Gripen fighter aircraft.
Besides its role as aircraft armament, IRIS-T is currently also employed as a surface-launched guided missile, e.g. in the ground-based air defence system IRIS-T SLS for object and short-range protection. Moreover, the Norwegian Air Force for the first time demonstrated IRIS-T`s capability of also engaging sea targets in a test firing in 2016.
Diehl Defence is prime contractor in the IRIS-T program, producing the missile since 2005 in cooperation with industrial partners from six European program nations.