BGT the prime contractor of the IRIS-T program has announced that Spain signed a
Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for preparation/pilot (LRIP) series production
of about 4,000 IRIS-T short range air-to-air missiles.
With 700 IRIS-T ordered, Spain will become the second largest operator of the
latest European short-range air-to-air missile after Germany which has ordered
about 1,250 IRIS-T missiles.
The final series production contract will be signed by the six nations currently
involved in the IRIS-T program (Germany, Greece, Italy, Norway, Spain and
Sweden) in early 2005. The total estimated cost of the IRIS-T program is more
than €1 billion ($1.1
billion). Eventually export customers could increase the total number of IRIS-T
missile to be
produced well beyond 4,000 units (some sources suggest 8,000 IRIS-Ts figure as a
The IRIS-T missile industrial development phase successfully ended on budget in
2002. During 2003, five missile performance demonstration firings under
simulated extreme combat conditions were successfully carried out.
BGT from Germany, Greek Powder and Cartridge Company, Hellenic Aersopace
Industry, and INTRACOM from Greece, Lital, Magnaghi, MBDA, and Simmel from
Italy, NAMMO Roufoss from Norway, Saab Bofors Dynamics from Sweden, ICSA and
SENER from Spain will be responsible for the entire IRIS-T program.
IRIS-T integration on Eurofighter Typhoon, Tornado and F-16 aircraft are near
completion, while integration on JAS 39 Gripen is expected to start in 2004 and
integration on F/A-18 for the Spanish Air Force has been announced but no date
has been released yet.
The IRIS-T short range air-to-air missile has been developed to replace current
AIM-9 Sidewinder missiles within Air Forces of six European nations. IRIS-T will
provide better performance thanks to its advanced IR seeker, jamming resistance
and flight envelope.
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