Diehl Defence (Hall A, Stand A386) has consolidated its successful co-operation with the Royal Thai Air Force with another contract for the supply of IRIS-T (InfraRed Imaging System – Tail/Thrust Vector Controlled) short-range air-to-air missiles.
The European missile was selected by Thailand as early as 2011 for arming first its Gripen and later also the F-16 fighter aircraft.
The new procurement plans to integrate the missile additionally into the F-5 fleet, making IRIS-T the standard armament of the Royal Thai Air Force.
IRIS-T is one of the world’s most advanced short-range air-to-air missiles. 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.
In addition to defeating enemy fighter aircraft, a self-defence capability against attacking air-to-air or ground-to-air missiles is provided by IRIS-T.
Even attacks from the rear can successfully be defeated without having to change the course of the aircraft. As a multi-purpose weapon, IRIS-T is also used as a surface-to-air missile in a ground-based air defence role.
The missile was developed within a European co-operation programme and was procured by Germany, Greece, Italy, Norway, Spain and Sweden as the successor to the ageing Sidewinder missiles. Series production started in 2005. Other user states today include Austria, Saudi Arabia, South Africa and Thailand.