India’s government-run Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has conducted the first test-firings of the Israeli-made, imaging infrared (IIR)-guided Python 5 air-to-air missile (AAM) from a Tejas Light Combat Aircraft (LCA).
In a 28 April statement the Indian government’s Press Information Bureau (PIB) said that the trials, which took place the previous day over Goa in southwestern India, were aimed at adding the fifth-generation, short-range missile – made by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems – to the LCA’s air-to-air weapon capabilities.
The Python 5 test-firings were the last in a series of missile trials designed to validate the aircraft’s performance under “extremely challenging scenarios”, noted the PIB, adding that the I-Derby ER (extended range) beyond-visual-range air-to-air missile (BVRAAM), which is also made by Rafael, was also test-fired.
The 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”, noted the PIB, adding that the trials “met all their planned objectives”.
The LCA used for the missile trials belonged to India’s Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) and were flown by Indian Air Force (IAF) test pilots, said the PIB.
The bureau noted that prior to these trials extensive missile carriage flight tests were conducted at Bengaluru to assess the integration of the Python 5 with other systems aboard the Tejas, including avionics, the fire-control radar, the missile weapon delivery and the flight control systems.
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