India’s home grown and worlds smallest fighter aircraft, the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas has test fired the 5th generation Python-5 Air-to-Air Missile on27th April. LCA Tejas is already integrated with the Beyond Visual Range (BVR) Derby AAM. The missiles were fired from Tejas aircraft of Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) flown by Indian Air Force (IAF) Test pilots belonging to National Flight Test Centre (NFTC).
“Trials were also aimed to validate enhanced capability of already integrated Derby Beyond Visual Range (BVR) AAM,” wrote Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) on Twitter.
The 50 Kms range Rafael Derby Missile (also called Alto) is an enlarged version of the Python-4 with an active-radar seeker. It does not belong to the Python Range of Missiles. Python-5 is made by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems has a speed of Mach 4 and an operational range of more than 20km. It is the most advanced air to air missile in the Israeli Air Force inventory.
“The test firing at Goa completed a series of missile trials to validate its performance under extremely challenging scenarios. Derby missile achieved direct hit on a high-speed maneuvering aerial target and the Python missiles also achieved 100% hits, thereby validating their complete capability… At Goa, after successful separation trials, live launch of the missile on a Banshee target was carried out. Python-5 missile live firing was conducted to validate target engagement from all aspects as well as beyond visual ranges. In all the live firings, missile hit the aerial target.” adds the release.
The project was handled by the Naval Project Office (NPO) which works on the LCA Navy project, the Indian Air Force Project Management Team (PMT) which handles the IAF version of Tejas and the testing was done at the Naval Air Station INS HANSA.