German missile house Diehl Defence (Hall 2c B355) is proposing the GILA (guided intelligent light armament) weapon to the German ministry of defense as a potential weapon to arm the Eurocopter Tiger. The weapon is an adaptation of Elbit’s GATR (guided advanced tactical rocket), which fits a laser guidance package to a 68mm or 70mm rocket. GATR has recently been awarded a demonstration contract by U.S. Special Operations Command.
Diehl is also proposing an innovative use for older AIM-9L Sidewinder missiles that have been replaced in the air-to-air role by weapons such as the Diehl’s own IRIS-T. The LaGS (laser-guided Sidewinder) replaces the air-to-air infrared seeker with a semi-active laser seeker, allowing the missile to be targeted with great precision against ground targets. Thus, older missiles can be reworked to provide a low-cost, low-collateral damage precision-attack option.
Arguably Diehl’s most interesting program, however, is the IDAS (interactive defense and attack system), which is based on the IRIS-T weapon but has been tailored for firing from the torpedo tubes of a submarine. It is intended for use against both surface and air targets.
Developed in conjunction with shipbuilder ThyssenKrupp and Norway’s Kongsberg, IDAS is intended primarily for use with the German 212A-class submarine. Due to budget cuts it was removed from the German MoD’s plans, but Diehl and its partners have continued development using their own funds up to the point where the technologies involved have been de-risked. An IDAS prototype began underwater firing tests in 2006, leading to a launch from a 212A submarine in 2008.
When the risk-reduction phase is complete, IDAS will be offered again to the German navy and also to other nations. Norway has signaled interest in the project, and now Turkey’s Roketsan has agreed to join the program. “We strongly believe that this is one of the weapon systems that can change submarine warfare dramatically,” said Diehl Defence CEO Claus Günther. “It allows a submarine to perform tasks that currently you need a surface vessel for.”
Concerning other systems, Diehl reports that the Swedish air force has become the launch customer for the surface-launched IRIS-T SL anti-air weapon. Sweden’s air defense system will use the standard IRIS-T SLS missiles for short-range interceptions (it already employs IRIS-Ts on its Gripen fighters). The longer-ranged IRIS-T SLM with additional rocket booster stage can also be fired from the same launcher.