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Denel's A-Darter makes test debut

Denel has completed the first series of test firings of its A-Darter short-range air-to-air missile, performing several boost-assisted launches at its OTB test range in mid-February.

Denel Dynamics says the firings "successfully evaluated the missile's manoeuvrability and high g-force characteristics", while "parallel tests of its seeker head's ability to track targets were equally successful".

 
© Denel Dynamics

The infrared-guided A-Darter has been in full-scale development since 2007 for the air forces of Brazil and South Africa. It weighs less than 100kg (220lb) and is expected to arm the latter's new Saab Gripen fighters, the first of which entered service last year.

Flight tests involving the type will start around 2010-11, with a production contract expected from both nations following a successful outcome.

 
© Denel Dynamics

The jointly funded A-Darter is set for integration with Brazil's upgraded Northrop F-5M fighters, while Denel also hopes to have the type selected for the nation's planned F-X2 fleet, to be selected from a current competition involving the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, Dassault Rafale and Saab Gripen NG.

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