IRIS-T SL - The Surface Launched variant



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.Diehl Defense offers countries a new mobile IRIS-T-SLS Mk III air ...

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.
It’s 3450mm long and weighs 140kg


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)

  • Low cost

  • Virtually no dead zone



Meet the Falcon, a new short-range air defense system

IDEX 2019: Lockheed Martin, Diehl and Saab unveil Falcon ground-based air defence (GBAD) system - EDR Magazine

Lockheed Martin, Diehl and Saab Unveil Collaboration to Counter Emerging Short and Medium-Range Threats with Falcon Weapon System | Diehl Defence


Diehl Defence: IRIS-T SL

Hochmoderne Waffe: Dieses deutsche Luftabwehrsystem ist bald in der Ukraine -

IRIS-T SLS an schwedische Streitkräfte übergeben | Diehl Defence

Diehl Defence Signs Contract for Norwegian Mobile Ground Based Air Defence | Diehl Defence

Ägypten: GroKo genehmigte noch kurz vor Regierungswechsel heiklen Waffenexport - DER SPIEGELüre2018_de.pdf

Diehl Defence, HENSOLDT and Airbus delivered GBAD System IRIS-T SLM to Ukraine | Diehl Defence

Diehl Defence erweitert IRIS-T SLM um optionale passive Radarfähigkeiten von HENSOLDT | Diehl Defence

Luftverteidigungssysteme | Diehl Defence | Diehl Defence

Diehl präsentiert Luftverteidigungssystem IRIS-T SLM | FLUG REVUE

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.


The IRIS-T SLS (short range version) could come into the game.
While kinda OP at close range thanks to IRIS-T maneuvrabability and seeker, i think it wouldn’t be usefull outside 10km due to lack of energy for the missile.
Would be hard to balance (short* range but really effective under 5kms).
Still would like to see it in game since it’s a standalone vehicle.


So the reports from the SLM usage in Ukraine state that the IRIS-T SLM system achieved a 100% hit rate against drones and missiles which is quite impressive

would explain why Diehl is really sticking to this seeker as it seems to be performing pretty well.


dont wanna seem insensitive but we might get reports on the SLS’s performance against choppers at some point as well.

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know if we only would see a german standalone launcher variant


would probably require minimal amounts of funding

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was declinded by gajin because that was only a model of what it could look like but isnt functioning

norwegian NASAMS with IRIS-T missles on a german ACSV G5 chassis. would be the best possible option for sweden and germany currently


well its Norwegian so it’ll end up being a premium in the swedish tree.
too bad sweden has their own SLS with a radar on it(even though it was just a prototype)

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ah yeah found the original, decline was after you asked them what happend to your suggestion

not necesarily the argument stands because of the german chassis and missle system, and with no real options currently they might just give them out like that

we’ll see…
i still dont find it acceptable that i had to ask the mods for a reason like wtf?

is what it is

besides that u know gajin, i highly doubt they will make multiple models, easier to just make that 1 model they potentialy could give to 2 nations

tbh i see how this would be a better addition for Germany as its pretty much exactly identical to the Mk III system with the angled missiles whereas the swedish launcher has them vertically…

the swedish one isnt a stand alone in the first place righ?

not the ones in service but they prototyped a version with a radar on it


yeah norwegian one looks, sexier and smaller silhouette

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oh i agree.
also i just realised that the norwegian one, just like the Mk 3, has an Mg on top lol so its like pretty much identical

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question is, do they both use the same missle variant as well?

they all use the SLS which is identical to the air launched version

you can tell the difference by the length, body diameter and exposed seeker.
the SLM has a thicker body to house a bigger motor, is longer(also for the motor) and has an aerodynamic cap on the seeker

oh yeah and the SLM (SLX probably too) is shipped and launched in a container