The South African state defense industry group Denel announced on Monday that it had successfully completed a series of missile control trials for the A-Darter guided (IR) air-to-air missile system, as reported by the Engineering News.
The A-Darter is a fifth-generation short-range air-to-air missile that uses an infra-red (IR) search system that has a range of 22 kilometers.
The A-Darter missile was developed in South Africa in collaboration with Brazil, by Denel Dynamics. This missile will be used by the South African Air Force and the Brazilian Air Force.
A series of qualification tests involved four guided launches, all against high-speed target drones, Skua produced by Denel Dynamics. Each launch shows a different air combat maneuver scenario. As a result, A-Darter's full performance was successfully demonstrated. The entire test series was conducted by Denel on the Overberg Test Range, south coast in the province of Western Cape, South Africa.
The first launch test was carried out in lock-on-after-launch (LOAL) mode, this scenario uses an advanced algorithm suite, A-Darter missiles were launched to free flights and then, at the end of this phase, acquired Skua targets and scored direct hits.
This shows the accuracy of the target weapon predictors. It further shows that missiles can do target interception outside the IR detection range when using LOAL capability.
The second test is close combat maneuvers. In this battle scenario, missiles are launched under high "G" strength (this one is equal to the gravitational force at sea level). After launch, they rotate 180? and managed to intercept the drone target.
This shows that the A-Darter search includes a wide viewing angle and its thrust vector control system provides great agility. The test also confirms the high launch capability of high-boresight weapons. That means fighter jets do not have to aim at targets before they can launch missiles.
The last two tests were carried out under electronic control (ECM) conditions and were involved in a "blow-through" air combat maneuver scenario. This blow-through means approaching the enemy at high speed without the intention of being involved in an air battle or can be interpreted as a hit-and-run.
This test confirms that the suit performance of the A-Darter missile electronic countermeasures (to neutralize the ECM effect of the target) has met the design specifications.