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Self-defence missile being developed for submarines

Schematic representation of the employment of an IDAS guided missile Photo: IDAS Consortium.

German defence manufacturers are developing a submarine guided missile system for self-defence against airborne anti-submarine warfare threats such as helicopters.

German defence manufacturers are developing a submarine guided missile system for self-defence against airborne anti-submarine warfare threats such as helicopters.

The Interactive Defense and Attack System for Submarines or IDAS missile is being developed by German weapon manufacturer Diehl Defence and ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems (TMS) in an IDAS consortium.

Traditionally, submarines have been vulnerable to airborne threats such as anti-submarine helicopters equipped with sonar and torpedoes.


The new IDAS missile encourages submarines to actively engage airborne threats without exposing their own hull or sensors. The range and bearing of the target are estimated by sensors; a missile is launched underwater from a torpedo tube before breaking the surface and unfolding flight fins, it then searches with an IIR seeker and finally accelerates at speed towards the target with a fragmentation warhead.

An onboard operator maintains control over the missile using a fibre optic link and has the option to change the target designation (to another target or even land target with GPS) or to abort the missile. If a disconnect occurs, the missile continues to operate according to the last selected or the most probable target.

“An IDAS missile was already launched successfully from a German Navy Class 212A submarine,” a TMS spokesperson said.

“Within this (third) firing, several important submarine integration aspects were demonstrated. This firing was again closely followed by numerous interested NATO and non-NATO navies.

“Ejection tests in May 2015 at the dockyard of ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems confirmed the basic design decisions. After several unwinding tests with the optical fibre bobbin under different operational conditions, including an ignited rocket motor, further tests with submarines of the Royal Norwegian Navy were prepared.

“In 2016, loading and unloading tests of the system and later on, ejection tests from HNoMS Uredd (Ula Class submarine) were accomplished successfully. The consortium concluded the IDP with engineering development tests in May 2017 in cooperation with the Royal Norwegian Navy.”

The missile has a system range of 15 kilometres, a launch depth similar to sub harpoon missile systems, speed of 240m/s and uses existing weapon tubes, weapon loading, and storage infrastructure.

The system began development in 2012 with the cooperation of German and other submariner navies.

Robert Dougherty

Robert Dougherty

Robert is a senior journalist who has previously worked for Seven West Media in Western Australia, as well as Fairfax Media and Australian Community Media in New South Wales. He has produced national headlines, photography and videography of emergency services, business, community, defence and government news across Australia. Robert graduated with a Bachelor of Arts, Majoring in Public Relations and Journalism at Curtin University, attended student exchange program with Fudan University and holds Tier 1 General Advice certification for Kaplan Professional. Reach out via email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or via LinkedIn.
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