INDIA. Mumbai: The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) conducted the maiden trial of Python-V Air-to-Air Missile(AAM) to validate the enhanced capability of already integrated Derby Beyond Visual Range (BVR) AAM on Tejas, India’s indigenous Light Combat Aircraft (LCA), on Tuesday.
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 manoeuvring aerial target and the Python missiles also achieved 100% hits, thereby validating their complete capability. The trials met all their planned objectives, a Defence statement said.
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 Tejas aircraft of Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA),Bengaluru, flown by the Indian Air Force (IAF). Test pilots belonged to National Flight Test Centre (NFTC), Bengaluru. The successful trial was made possible with years of hard work by the team of scientists, engineers, and technicians from ADA and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), Nashik, Aircraft Research and Design Centre (ARDC), Bengaluru,along with support from the Centre for Military Airworthiness & Certification (CEMILAC), Bengaluru, Directorate General Of Aeronautical Quality Assurance (DGAQA), New Delhi, IAF, Project Management Team (PMT), Naval Project office (NPO), Bengaluru LCA (Navy) and INS HANSA, a Naval base in Goa.
Before these trials, extensive missile carriage flight tests were conducted at Bengaluru in Karnataka to assess the integration of the missile with aircraft systems onboard the Tejas, like Avionics, Fire-control radar, Missile Weapon Delivery System, and the Flight Control System,earlier.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh congratulated the teams of DRDO, ADA, IAF, 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 industries.
Tejas has high manoeuvrability. It was seen conducting an inverted pass. It is a precision weapon launch platform with seven hard points to carry a range of air-to-air missiles, anti-ship missiles, unguided rockets, and conventional/retarded bombs.
Tejas is a 4.5 generation single-seat multirole fighter aircraft designed and developed within the country. The present fleet comprises 34 aircraft. Under a Rs 48,000-crore deal the delivery of additional aircraft will begin from March 2024 and around 16 aircraft will be rolled out annually till the completion of the total supply of 83 jets. The IAF has planned for a total of 324 Tejas in several variants.
It is the second supersonic fighter developed by HAL. The production of the Tejas Mark 1 for the IAF began in 2016, at which time the naval version was undergoing flight tests for the Indian Navy.