India’s indigenous Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas has added the capability of firing Israeli origin Python-5 air to air missile (AAM) after successful tests were concluded on Tuesday, the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) said on Wednesday.
The same set of tests were also aimed to validate the enhanced capability of the already integrated Israeli-origin Derby Beyond Visual Range (BVR) AAM on Tejas.
“The test firing at Goa completed a series of missile trials to validate the performance under extremely challenging scenarios. The 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,” said a press statement from the Ministry of Defence.
Officials said that before conducting these set of trials, extensive missile carriage flight tests were conducted at Bengaluru to assess the integration of the Python-5 missile with aircraft systems onboard the Tejas, like Avionics, fire-control radar, missile weapon delivery system and the flight control system.
Video of Python-5 firing from Tejas pic.twitter.com/45omOdzWes
— DRDO (@DRDO_India) April 28, 2021
At Goa, after successful separation trials, live launch of the missile on a Banshee, which is an unmanned aerial 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, the missile hit the aerial target,” the press statement said.
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). The successful conduct was made possible with years of hard work by the team of scientists, engineers and technicians from ADA and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited-Aircraft Research and Design Centre (HAL-ARDC) along with support from Centre for Military Airworthiness and Certification (CEMILAC), Directorate General of Aeronautical Quality Assurance (DG-AQA), IAF’s Project Management Team PMT, NPO (LCA Navy) and INS Hansa.
“Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has 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 statement said.