The IRIS-T SL is a Surface Launched(SL) variant of the IRIS-T air to air missile. Therefore, this post is going to be rather short and I’ll link my a2a variant post here:
Exact reasons and dates for its development are unclear. However, the SL(later SLM) variant was, at least for Germany, supposed to be a cheaper, secondary effector as part of the MEADS(Medium Extended Air Defense System) development. The concept of the current SLM and SLS systems date back as far as 2008. It was built to be a cheap modification of the already existing air to air variant. All of the 3 variants are guided towards the target via datalink and have the same IR seeker(SLX is special, more on that later). Thus, only an accurate search radar is required and the missiles are easily integrated into existing systems which was important. Development of the SLM variant is said to have ended in 2014.
Due to the IRIS-T’s 360° launch capability on aircraft, it only required small modifications to the flight control system for ground launches.
IRIS-T SLS - The Short Range Variant
The IRIS-T SLS, left most in the first picture, did not undergo major modifications and is essentially just the air launched variant put on a vehicle. Unlike the SLM and SLX, this one is not self contained. A suggestion for the variant shown above has already been made:
(A post should be linked here but, with the new forum, the post is gone anyways)
However, another variant has been announced, the IRIS-T SLS Mk 3. This one also carries 4 IRIS-T SLS missiles and is a completely standalone vehicle.
The SLS has an advertised range of about 12km with an altitude coverage of up to 6km.
IRIS-T SLM - The Medium Range Variant
As opposed to the SLS variant, the SLM variant(earlier known as the SL) underwent some modifications to increase its range. Notable modifications are the addition of an aerodynamic cap to improve aerodynamics and protect the sensor which is jettisoned for terminal IR guidance and the addition of a larger rocket motor giving it a longer range and higher altitude coverage. The full IRIS-T SLM system consists of at least 3 vehicles: a radar unit, a Tactical Operations Center(TOC) and launchers. The radar used is the TRML-4D by HENSOLDT which is an AESA search radar. The launcher can carry up to 8 missiles, all 3 modules can be fitted onto any vehicle capable of carrying a 20 foot ISO container. These launchers can be up to 20km away from the TOC because they contain the necessary fire control systems, generators and antennas but are unmanned(aside from the driver).
From a recent video I can tell that the burn time of the SLM is around 12 seconds.
The SLM has an advertised range of about 40km with an altitude coverage of up to 20km.
This variant is currently in use in Ukraine and is said to have achieved a hit efficiency of 100% against drones and missiles.
IRIS-T SLX - The Long Range Variant
This missile is currently under development with Diehl BGT Defence and HENSOLDT. It has an entirely different body, a larger motor and even contains a dual mode RF and IR seeker. Whether it still retains the original IRIS-T’s seeker is unclear. Information about this system in particular is rather sparse as it is still under development.
The SLX has an advertised range of about 80km with an altitude coverage of up to 30km
Compatibility with various GBAD systems
Target designation using search radars(SLS, SLM; SLX is unclear)
Ease of use with “Plug & Fight” capability
Vertical launch - 360° coverage
Thrust vector control
Short reaction time
Lock-on-before(SLS only for obvious reasons) and Lock-on-after launch
High probability of kill against all aircraft, helicopters, cruise missiles, UAVs and UCAVs
Great and proven countermeasure resistance
Interchangeability with other IRIS-T variants
Rapid deployment(around 15 minutes for the SLM, SLS is much shorter)
Virtually no dead zone
I apologise for the relative lack of information(speed, max g, etc). There aren’t a lot of if any sources for things like that yet as these(especially the SLM) are systems that haven’t been in service for long. The first full SLM system for example went to Ukraine only last year so a lot of articles are copy pastes of each other. The post also might appear pointless, at least for the SLM and SLX, because those systems would never be player-controllable in war thunder. But who knows, maybe we’ll get them as air field SAMs at some point.
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