Light combat aircraft Tejas fires Python-5 missile for first time
The indigenous Tejas light combat aircraft (LCA) on Tuesday fired the Israeli-origin Python-5 air-to-air missile (AAM) for the first time, paving the way for the short-range missile to be carried on the plane, officials familiar with the development said.
“Trials were also aimed to validate enhanced capability of already integrated Derby beyond visual range (BVR) AAM on Tejas. The test firing at Goa completed a series of missile trials to validate its performance under extremely challenging scenarios,” the defence ministry said in a statement on Wednesday. The Derby missile achieved direct hit on a high-speed maneuvering aerial target and the Python missiles also achieved 100% hits, validating their complete capability, it added.
The missiles were fired from Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) Tejas aircraft flown by IAF test pilots from the National Flight Test Centre.
The defence ministry in February awarded a ₹48,000 crore contract to Hindustan Aeronautics Limited for 83 LCA Mk-1A jets for the IAF.
The deal took the total number of Tejas variants ordered to 123. The 40 LCAs already ordered by IAF are in the initial operational clearance (IOC) and the more advanced final operational clearance (FOC) configurations. The LCA Mk-1A will come with additional improvements over the FOC aircraft, making it the most advanced Tejas variant so far.