Denel Dynamics has announced that it has successfully completed the guided missile qualification test series for its A-Darter short-range imaging infrared (IIR) air-to-air missile (AAM) system.
A total of four guided firings – all against Denel Skua high-speed target drones – were conducted at Denel Overberg Test Range (DOTR) in the Western Cape, South Africa.
In the first test – conducted in lock-on-after-launch (LOAL) mode – the missile acquired the target late in its free-flight phase and intercepted it with a direct hit. According to Denel, this “demonstrates that long-range intercept beyond IR detection range is possible with the lock-on-after-launch capability of the A-Darter missile”. The range and altitude of the intercept were not disclosed.
The second test was conducted in a Chase Air Combat Manoeuvre mode at close range to prove the high off-boresight launch capability of the missile under high G-forces. The missile performed a hard 180° manoeuvring turn after launch to successfully intercept the target, demonstrating the IIR seeker’s wide field-of-view (FOV), the agility of the airframe in high-G manoeuvring, and the performance of the missile’s thrust vector control system.
The intercept ranges for both tests – which were conducted in November 2017 – were not disclosed.
Two additional tests were conducted in a ‘blow-through’ air combat manoeuvre mode using the missile’s multi-mode electronic countermeasures suite.
Designed by Denel Dynamics, and evolved under a joint development agreement with Brazil’s Ministry of Defence and Brazilian Air Force (Forca Aerea Brasileira: FAB), A-Darter is now a co-development programme between Denel Dynamics of South Africa and Brazil’s Mectron, Avibras, and Opto Eletrônica.
A-Darter is a body-lift missile with thrust vector control for a high angle of attack capability and agility. Weighing 93.5 kg, 166 mm in diameter, and just less than 3 m in length, the missile has four fixed delta control fins at the rear and two strakes along the sides.
Want to read more? For analysis on this article and access to all our insight content, please enquire about our subscription options at ihsmarkit.com/janes