Diehl Defence, a German arms manufacturer founded in 2004 in Uberlingen by the merger of Bodenseewerke Geratetechnik and Diehl Munitionssysteme, has conducted trials of their newly developed infrared imaging system-tail/thrust vector controlled surface-launched missile system, or IRIS-T SL. The company already manufactures an air-to-air guided missile version (the IRIS-T), but the new surface-based missiles have been upgraded with an enhanced rocket motor, new aerodynamic designs for extended range, and advanced software (data link and autonomous navigation systems).
In early 2015, Diehl tested the IRIS-T SLs in three firings at the Overberg Test Range in South Africa in short-to-medium range and low-to-high altitude scenarios. All three tests successfully hit jet target drones programmed for evasive maneuvering. The first test aimed at a target 12 kilometers from the surface. The second test struck a low flying target at close range. The final firing was completed against a small and fast drone with extreme evasion maneuvers.
In 1960, one of Diehl Defence’s founding companies – Bodenseewerke Geratetechnik – was chosen as the prime contractor for producing the US Navy’s Sidewinder AIM-9B air-to-air missiles (originally manufactured by Raytheon and General Electric) for the European market. From this, the company developed the IRIS-T which is currently actively procured by the Luftwaffe and other European forces. The company’s range of guided missiles all feature vertical launching abilities and are capable of protecting a comprehensive 360-degree area. In addition to the IRIS-T and IRIS-T SL, the company manufactures the IRIS-T SLS – a surface launched short-range guided missile capable of being fired from a Unimog 5000 vehicle.
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