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BGT to carry out IRIS-T integration

BGT has secured contracts to integrate the IRIS-T air-to-air missile with two of the programme's key fighter platforms, the Eurofighter and Lockheed Martin F-16.

The Greek air force has awarded a contract "worth several million euros" to integrate the infrared-guided IRIS-T with the F-16, while the German parliamentary budget committee has approved the release of €61.4 million ($54.5 million) for integration with German and Italian Eurofighters.

BGT says it will work on the F-16 integration alongside the Greek air force and Lockheed Martin rather than being a subcontractor to the fighter manufacturer. The Diehl-owned company expects to receive a Eurofighter subcontract for integration support.

IRIS-T is being developed by a team of companies from Greece, Italy, Norway and Sweden. Canada was also participating but withdrew last year.

Further contracts are expected shortly to integrate the missile with the Alenia/Embraer AMX and Saab/BAE Systems Gripen.

Problems with the propulsion system, which resulted in test firing issues, have been solved by altering the motor lining production process, says a consortium source.

IRIS-T development is due to end in December. A production-phase memorandum of understanding should also be signed this year leading to manufacture next year.

Canada's withdrawal means that an IRIS-T export customer will be needed for integration with the Boeing F/A-18 Hornet. Switzerland has shortlisted the missile for its F/A-18s and is due to make a decision next year.