South Africa’s state-owned Denel Group, in its “Twenty 16/17 Integrated Report” has detailed a number of development milestones in the air-launched guided weapons segment managed by the Group’s Denel Dynamics division.
Released in late September, the report noted that the company has successfully completed seeker performance qualification flight trials of the A-Darter imaging infrared (IIR) homing short-range air-to-air missile (SRAAM). A co-funded development between Denel Dynamic and Brazil's Mectron, Avibras and Opto Eletrônica, A-Darter is a body-lift missile with thrust vector control for high angle of attack capability and agility. At 93.5 kg and just under 3 m in length, it can be launched from the wingtip and under-wing launchers of most fighters and attack aircraft. The Rheinmetall Denel Munition (RDM)-developed motor has a low launch signature with a low smoke trail under most conditions, and is reported to provide superior launch ranges in line with fifth-generation IIR missiles. The multi-element IIR seeker has a 90° look angle with several modes including autonomous scan and lock-on after launch; it can also be put onto a target using the aircraft's radar or the pilot's helmet-mounted display and sight system. Long-range intercepts beyond IIR detection range are also possible with the A-Darter’s lock-on after launch capability.
The company anticipates final qualification of the missile this year, noting that it has now completed the critical design review of the missile in November 2015, “therefore finalising the design baseline for industrialisation and manufacturing”.
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