India tests Python-5 air-to-air missile from Tejas for the first time

Photo: A Tejas aircraft firing a Python-5 missile.

New Delhi: India has tested for the first time the Python-5 air-to-air missile on the ‘Tejas‘ Light Combat Aircraft yesterday, enhancing the attack capability of the indigenous fighter jet beyond visual range.

The test firing took place in Goa when a series of the missile trials were completed to validate the enhanced capability of already integrated Israeli-origin ‘Derby‘ Beyond Visual Range (BVR) missile on the Tejas aircraft.

“Tejas, India’s indigenous Light Combat Aircraft, added the fifth generation Python-5 Air-to-Air Missile (AAM) in its air-to-air weapons capability on Apr. 27. The trials were also aimed at validating enhanced capability of already integrated Derby Beyond Visual Range (BVR) AAM on Tejas,” an official statement from the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) said today.

“The test firing at Goa completed a series of missile trials to validate its performance under extremely challenging scenarios. Derby missile achieved direct hit on a high-speed maneuvering aerial target and the Python missiles also achieved 100 per cent hits, thereby validating their complete capability. The trials met all their planned objectives,” the statement said.

Prior to these trials, extensive missile carriage flight tests were conducted at Bengaluru to assess integration of the missile with aircraft systems on board the Tejas, like Avionics, Fire-control radar, Missile Weapon Delivery System and the Flight Control System.

At Goa, after successful separation trials, 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, missile hit the aerial target.

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 HAL-ARDC along with admirable support from CEMILAC, DG-AQA, IAF PMT, NPO (LCA Navy) and INS HANSA.

India’s Minister of Defence Rajnath Singh has congratulated the teams of DRDO, ADA, Indian Air Force, HAL and all involved in the trial. DRDO Chairman and Department of Defence Research and Development Secretary Dr G. Satheesh Reddy appreciated the efforts of scientists, engineers and technicians from various organisations and industry.

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