Denel Dynamics A-Darter missile (with a Seeker 400 unmanned aerial vehicle behind)
Photo by: Duane Daws/Creamer Media
The Denel Dynamics A-Darter infrared homing short-range air-to-air missile (AAM) has received its Type Certificate. This marks the end of the qualification and certification programme for the weapon.
The A-Darter has been jointly developed by South Africa and Brazil, having been originally conceived by Denel Dynamics, part of South Africa’s State-owned Denel defence industrial group. The missile was jointly certified by the South African and Brazilian authorities, at a ceremony held in the Brazilian capital of Brasília on September 26, but not publicised at the time.
“The Type Certificate received by Denel Dynamics is the official acknowledgement that the A-Darter missile meets the technical, operational, logistical, industrial and safety requirements and therefore this concludes the development of the A-Darter missile,” stated Denel. “Denel Dynamics has already received interest in the A-Darter missile from prospective clients and is very confident that the missile’s performance will meet the expectations of the prospective clients.”
The ceremony also saw South African defence acquisition, disposals and research and development agency Armscor hand over the Data Package for the A-Darter to Brazil’s Departamento de Ciência e Tecnologia Aeroespacial (Aerospace Science and Technology Department). “The Data Package is the material of all the knowledge that was produced throughout the development cycle of the A-Darter programme,” explained Denel.
The A-Darter is a fifth-generation AAM with an imaging infrared (IIR) seeker, with improved false target rejection capability. It also enjoys improved guidance and control and electronic-counter-counter-measures.
It can be integrated both on latest fourth-generation and earlier-generation fighter aircraft. It is already completely integrated with the Saab JAS-39 Gripen C (single seat) and Gripen D (two seat) fighters, operated by the South African Air Force. In Brazil, it will be integrated with the Brazilian Air Force’s next generation F-39 Gripen E (single seat) and Gripen F (two seat) fighters (the first Brazilian Gripen is currently undergoing flight test in Sweden).
“With the establishment of a qualified and certified A-Darter missile, South Africa and Brazil have become part of the selected [sic] few countries in the world to produce a 5th generation IIR short range missile,” pointed out Denel.