A TEJAS light fighter seen equipped with the Derby system at the National Flight Test Centre

IDN has learnt from reliable sources that as part of its scheduled weapon trials, Tejas LSP-7 successfully test fired the Beyond Visual Range DERBY missile at Goa proving grounds. These weapon trials are part of the Final Operational Clearance (FOC) mandate which is likely to be completed by end July this year.

Continuing with its successful stride of flight trails India's Tejas light fighter achieved a major milestone with this test. One of the limited series production (LSP) platforms had fired a DERBY Beyond Visual Range Air-to-Air Missile (BVRAAM) missile for the first time in 2016.

The Israeli DERBY series of missiles are one of the most advanced AAM systems in the world. The DERBY Beyond-Visual-Range (BVR) Air-To-Air Missile, is a medium-range (~50 km) active-radar seeker missile. Though technically not part of the "Python" family, the missile is basically an enlarged PYTHON-4 with an active-radar seeker. The DERBY BVR missile includes ECCM features. Like the PYTHON short range air-to-air missile, the DERBY has the same canards (wings), warhead, rocket motor design and proximity fuse and a dramatic increase in range. It's launch weight is 118 kg with a range of 63 km.

Notably, the IAF has procured the DERBY BVR-AAM over the indigenous ASTRA BVRAAM to expedite the induction of TEJAS into its arsenal. The DERBY BVRAAM missile is a tried and tested weapon. The DERBY has a range of 50 km, compared with 80 km of the ASTRA missile. 

Only a handful of missile builders -- in the US, Russia, Europe and China -- have mastered the technologies that go into air-to-air missiles. In September 2017 the defence ministry had formally announced the successful development of the most challenging missile India has developed so far -- the ASTRA.

It should be noted that TEJAS has already completed the weapons trails of the Russian R-73 missile.

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