LCA Tejas, India’s indigenous Light Combat Aircraft, added the 5th generation Python-5 Air-to-Air Missile (AAM) in its air-to-air weapons capability on April 27, 2021. Trials were also aimed to validate the enhanced capability of the already integrated Derby Beyond Visual Range Missile (BVR) AAM on Tejas.
The test-firing at Goa completed a series of missile trials to validate its performance under extremely challenging scenarios. Derby missile achieved a direct hit on a high-speed maneuvering aerial target and the Python missiles also achieved 100% hits, thereby validating their complete capability. The trials met all their planned objectives.
Prior to these trials, extensive Python-5 Air-to-Air Missile carriage flight tests were conducted at Bengaluru to assess the integration of the missile with aircraft systems onboard the Light Combat Aircraft Tejas, like Avionics, Fire-control radar, Missile Weapon Delivery System and the Flight Control System. At Goa, after successful separation trials, a 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, the missile hit the aerial target.
The missiles were fired from the LCA Tejas aircraft of Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) flown by Indian Air Force (IAF) Test pilots belonging to the National Flight Test Centre (NFTC). The successful conduct was made possible with years of hard work by a team of scientists, engineers and technicians from ADA and HAL-ARDC along with admirable support from CEMILAC, DG-AQA, IAF PMT, NPO (LCA Navy) and INS HANSA. Soon Tejas will be equipped with Derby Beyond Visual Range Missile and Python Missile.
Raksha Mantri Shri 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 organizations and industry.