Military Aviation

Royal Thai Air Force to arm F-5s with IRIS-T

The new procurement plans to integrate the missile onto the F-5, making IRIS-T a standard armament of the Royal Thai Air Force

Diehl Defence announced that Thailand has placed an order for another batch of the company’s IRIS-T short-range air-to-air missiles and these will be used by the Royal Thai Air Force’s F-5s.

The missile has been integrated on Thailand’s F-16s and Gripens so far.

Diehl Defence notes: “The new procurement plans to integrate the missile onto the F-5, making IRIS-T a standard armament of the Royal Thai Air Force.”

According Flight Global, Thailand still operates 30 F-5E fighters and four B/F-model trainers, with these aged at between 30 and 40 years. It records its air force inventory as also including 53 F-16A/Bs and 11 Gripen C/Ds.

The latest Thai order represents the first integration of the IRIS-T with the aged F-5 platform. The weapon is currently operational on the F-16, Gripen, Boeing F/A-18, Eurofighter Typhoon and Panavia Tornado for partner nations Germany, Greece, Italy, Norway, Spain and Sweden, plus Thailand and additional export customers Austria, Saudi Arabia and South Africa, Diehl Defence says.

IRIS-T is a high-agility, short-range air-to-air guided missile with infrared seeker head for air engagement in the short and very short range but also for longer-range interception missions. The target can be designated by the airborne radar or via the pilot’s helmet sight. Sophisticated real-time image processing techniques enable precise control with optimum hit accuracy as well as excellent ECM resistance, also covering new blinding lasers. Simultaneously, thrust vector control provides the missile with unsurpassed maneuverability, enabling successful engagement of targets behind the aircraft. IRIS-T’s exceptional precision in combination with a radar proximity fuze also enable the missile to intercept enemy missiles.

Photo credit: Lance Cpl. Todd F. Michalek / U.S. Marine Corps and HaraF Own Work via Wikipedia

Gabriele Barison

Gabriele Barison is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Co-Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. He has flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.

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