Spain Joins IRIS-T Program

Released on Monday, October 27, 2003
AIM-9M Sidewinder
F-16C Fighting Falcon
F/A-18A Hornet
JAS 39C Gripen
Tornado IDS
IR - InfraRed
LRIP - Low Rate Initial Production
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 realistic goal).

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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