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BGTslims down its IRIS-T missile

German missile manufacturer Bodenseewerk Gerätetechnik (BGT) has completed the definition phase of its IRIS-T infra-red (IR)-guided missile, and will soon present a more aerodynamic design for the airframe to nations involved in the project.

According to the manufacturer, IRIS-T partner AlliedSignal Canada has slimmed down the rear section of the missile to achieve a constant 125mm diameter.

Models of the missile displayed to date had an enlarged rear section to house actuators and electronics for the rear guidance fins and exhaust vanes.

Although BGT claims that tests showed that the original design presented no significant aerodynamic disadvantage, some sources suggested that the enlarged section would entail a substantial drag penalty. The modification eliminates this problem.

Additional sweep has also been introduced on the leading edge of the missile's large, centrally mounted, wings.

The IRIS-T is intended as a successor to the current generation of IR-seeking missiles. The German-led programme is being run in partnership with Alenia, BPD and Litton Italia in Italy; AlliedSignal Canada; the Greek Powder and Cartridge Company; Raufoss of Norway; and Saab in Sweden.

According to BGT, industrial workshare will be based on the division of programme costs among the partner countries. Cost estimates have been calculated as part of the definition phase, and negotiations are under way for a memorandum of understanding, with a contract scheduled to follow by November.

The IRIS-T's dimensions are similar to those of the Raytheon AIM-9 Sidewinder, but BGT claims that it will have a greater range and better controllability at high angles of attack. The maker adds that the missile's IR-imaging seeker (IRIS) allows targets to be acquired at three or four times the acquisition range of today's IR-guided missiles, and at up to 90í off-boresight.

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