The Indian Air Force’s (IAF) Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas has successfully test-fired the Derby air-to-air beyond visual range (BVR) missile from the firing range off the coast of Goa.

The successful integration of the Derby BVR-class missile on to LCA Tejas is one of the major objectives of Final Operational Clearance (FOC) of the aircraft.

The firing was carried out by the IAF to expand the firing envelope, in addition to demonstrating the safe operation of the aircraft during missile plume ingestion into the aircraft engine under worst-case scenarios.

The missile was launched from LCA Tejas following an exhaustive study of the missile separation characteristics and plume envelope.

During the test, the IAF aircraft was closely tracked by two other Tejas aircraft in order to capture the firing event using the specially instrumented high-speed cameras for detailed analysis and comparison with the simulation model for validation.

“The successful integration of the Derby BVR-class missile on to LCA Tejas is one of the major objectives of Final Operational Clearance (FOC) of the aircraft.”

The complete planning, practice sorties and final firing were carried out by Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) and officials from the National Flight Test Centre (NFTC).

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Jointly built by ADA, the autonomous society of the Defence Research and Development Organisation of India, and Hindustan Aeronautics, LCA Tejas has successfully completed a series of captive flight trials to clear the Derby missile for the full operational capability in the entire FOC envelope.

In the past, the aircraft qualified for the armaments and missile release-related trials.

LCA Tejas is a lightweight, multi-role, single-engine tactical fighter aircraft, which is currently being developed in a single-seat fighter and twin-seat trainer variants for the IAF and Indian Navy.