Air Weapons: February 26, 2003


Germany, Greece, Italy, Norway, Spain and Sweden have agreed to a billion dollar buy of some 4,000 European designed and made Iris-T short range air-to-air missiles. This weapon began development in the mid 1990s, after Germany had carefully examined some Russian made Archer (AA-11) air-to-air missiles it had inherited when it absorbed East Germany's air force. The Archer is a very agile short range missile and the Iris-T resembles it. But the Iris-T is also basically an improved Sidewinder, borrowing the high mobility thrusters and other technology from the Russian Archer. Iris-T weighs 187 pounds, has a diameter of 127mm and is 9.6 feet long and can be carried by any aircraft that already carries the Sidewinder.


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