IAF to Equip LCA Tejas with Israeli Derby Missile

The Indian Air Force (IAF) plans to equip the Tejas light combat aircraft (LCA) with the Israeli supersonic Derby beyond visual range air-to-air missile (BVR-AAM).

India will sign a contract with Rafael Advanced Defence Systems (RADSL) to procure the Derby BVR-AAM to be fitted on 200 jets.

Delivery of the missiles is expected by the end of 2012.

The IAF has selected the Derby BVR-AAM over the indigenous Astra BVR-AAM to expedite the induction of Tejas into its arsenal.

The Derby BVR-AAM missile is a tried and tested weapon, though it is yet to be successfully test-fired in the air using a Sukhoi-30 MKI fighter jet.

The Derby has a range of 50km, compared with 80km of the Astra missile.

Tejas developer Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) said the Astra BVR-AAM would be integrated with the LCA once all the flight test firing schedules were successfully completed.