India’s Tejas Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) successfully test-fired Derby Beyond Visual Range Air-to-Air Missile (BVRAAM) from the firing range off the Goa coast on April 27, 2018.
The test was conducted to expand the firing envelope as well as to demonstrate safe operation of the aircraft during missile plume ingestion into the aircraft engine under worst case scenarios.
The missile was launched from LCA Tejas piloted by Wing Commander Siddharth Singh after exhaustive study of the missile separation characteristics and plume envelope. LCA Tejas has been designed & developed by, Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA), an autonomous agency under the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) of the Indian Ministry of Defence (MOD).
Integration of Derby, a BVR class missile is one of the major objectives of Final Operational Clearance (FOC) of LCA Tejas.
The aircraft was tracked by two other Tejas aircraft in close formation to capture the firing event in the specially instrumented high speed cameras for detailed analysis and comparison with the simulation model for validation. The entire planning, practice sorties and final firing was carried out by ADA and it’s National Flight Test Centre (NFTC) officials Cmde JA Maolankar and Gp Capt A Kabadwal, IAF, DG(AQA), HAL & INS HANSA.
Based on the successful integration and demonstration, Regional Centre for Military Airworthiness (RCMA), a unit of DRDO has cleared the series production aircraft of Squadron 45, to be equipped with Derby operational capability. LCA Tejas has successfully completed a series of captive flight trials to clear Derby for the full operational capability in the entire FOC envelope. In the past, Tejas has qualified for the armaments and missile release related trials.
Derby is a beyond visual range (BVR) air-to-air missile (AAM) developed by Israeli defence company Rafael Advanced Defense Systems. It is an active radar homing missile with a range of around 50 km.
The weapon has a length of 362cm, a wing span of 64cm and a diameter of 16cm. It weighs 118kg and is armed with a 23kg warhead. The missile can operate in lock-on before launch (LOBL) and lock-on after launch (LOAL) modes.
HAL Tejas is an Indian single-seat, single-jet engine, multirole light fighter designed by the Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) for the Indian Air Force and Navy.
The aircraft has a tail-less compound delta-wing configuration, which provides for high maneuverability. It was developed under the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) programme, which began in the 1980s to replace India’s ageing MiG-21 fighters.
The aircraft integrates technologies such as relaxed static stability, fly-by-wire (FBW) flight control system, multi-mode radar, integrated digital avionics system, composite material structures, and a flat rated engine. It is the smallest and lightest in its class of contemporary supersonic combat aircraft.