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.

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By GlobalData

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.