Enhancing its combat prowess, India’s indigenously developed Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas has successfully added 5th generation Israeli-origin Python-5 Air-to-Air Missile (AAM) under its air-to-air weapons capability.
Python-5 can be launched from very short to beyond visual ranges with precise attack probability, excellent resistance to countermeasures, irrespective of evasive target maneuvers or deployment of countermeasures. The Air-to-Air missile comes with a fifth-generation imaging seeker, which enables it with ‘full sphere launch capability’ with lock-on-after-launch and excellent acquisition and targeting capabilities.
Similar trials were also conducted on validating the enhanced capability of the already inducted Derby Beyond Visual Range (BVR) AAM on the light combat aircraft. Both Python-5 and Derby missiles have been developed by Israeli defence company Rafael Advanced Defense Systems.
“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 percent hits, thereby validating their complete capability. The trials met all their planned objectives,” read an official statement of the Ministry of Defence.
Earlier at Bengaluru, extensive missile carriage flight tests were conducted to examine integration of the missile with aircraft systems on board the Tejas, like Avionics, Fire-control radar, Missile Weapon Delivery System and the Flight Control System.
At Goa, after the successful separation trials, live firing of the Python-5 missile on a Banshee, an unmanned aerial target, was conducted to validate target engagement from all aspects as well as beyond visual ranges. In all live firing, the missile hit the aerial target.
Hailing the great development, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh congratulated the teams of DRDO, ADA, Indian Air Force, HAL and all involved in the trial. Secretary Department of Defence R&D and Chairman DRDO Dr G Satheesh Reddy appreciated the efforts of scientists, engineers and technicians from various organisations and industry, the Defence Ministry stated.