Saab conducted the first test firing of a Diehl BGT Defence IRIS-T short-range air-to-air missile from a Gripen fighter over Sweden's Vidsel test range on 12 June, during the 6,000th test flight of a JAS39.

Involving high-speed weapon release from a JAS39B test aircraft flying at around 2,000ft (610m), the unguided test was "a complete success", says Saab test pilot Fredrik Müchler.

Gripen launch 
© Saab 
Diehl BGT Defence IRIS-T short-range air-to-air missile
Saab will perform another unguided release of the IRIS-T and two guided firings against target drones at Vidsel later this year under a national test programme worth SKr150 million ($21.7 million). These are intended to prove the missile's operating envelope across more difficult flight conditions and at a higher load factor, says Müchler.

© Gripen International 
Also on order for Germany, Greece, Italy, Norway and Spain, the IRIS-T will replace the Swedish air force's inventory of Raytheon AIM-9 Sidewinder missiles. The new weapon will be integrated with its frontline Gripens next year as part of the type's so-called "Version 19" software update, says Saab. This will also equip the aircraft with a Link 16 datalink to support international operations.

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