I-Derby ER is a long-range air-to-air missile with the maximum operational range of 100km. Credit: Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd.
The missile features a dual-pulse rocket motor and an active radar seeker. Credit: Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd.
The I-Derby ER missile can engage fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft, unmanned air vehicles (UAVs), standoff weapons, and cruise missiles. Credit: Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd.

I-Derby ER is an extended-range air-to-air missile developed by Israeli defence technology company Rafael Advanced Defence Systems. It is the latest and most advanced version of the company’s electromagnetic air-to-air missiles family.

Equipped with outstanding kinematic capability, I-Derby ER is a long-range derivative of the Derby missile currently in service globally.

Rafael completed the development of the ground-based air defence (GBAD) version of the I-Derby ER air-to-air missile through an 18-month test campaign in southern Israel in February 2021.

Rafael launched I-Derby ER surface-to-air interceptor from the ground-based SPYDER air defence system to test the missile’s command and control, navigation, and flight trajectory capabilities.

I-Derby ER orders and deliveries

The Colombian Air Force (FAC) acquired the I-Derby ER missile to equip its Israel Aerospace Industries’ (IAI) KFIR aircraft, as part of its KFIR upgrade programme in October 2017.

India test-fired I-Derby ER missile from a Tejas light combat aircraft (LCA) in Goa in April 2021, marking the Tejas LCA’s improved beyond visual range capabilities. India purchased the I-Derby ER missiles from Israel in 2020 under emergency mode during the India-China stand-off in the Galwan valley.

The Indian Air Force’s Su-30MKI fleet is expected to be armed with I-Derby ER missiles by 2022.

Design and features of I-Derby ER missile

I-Derby ER missile is a long-range air-to-air missile with an operational range of up to 100km, utilising a data link based on Rafael Global Link or customer’s data link. The shape and size of the I-Derby ER missile are identical to the existing range of the Derby missile. The length of the 118kg missile is 3.62m, while its wingspan and diameter are 0.64m and 0.16m respectively. The missile can fly at a maximum speed of Mach 4.

The lightweight missile features a dual-pulse rocket motor and an innovative software-controlled active radar seeker, which improve the strike capabilities of a combat aircraft at multiple ranges including short ranges and beyond visual range.

The fire-and-forget capabilities of the missile allow simultaneous interception of multiple targets. It can be easily integrated onto a variety of modern fighter aircraft such as F-15, F-18, Typhoon, Sukhoi Su-30, Mirage-2000, and Gripen.

The I-Derby ER GBAD version can be rapidly integrated into the air defence systems such as Rafael’s SPYDER surface-to-air missile system which has an operational range between 20km and 60km.

When launched from the ground, the existing range of the I-Derby missile gets doubled, allowing it to tackle the targets within the range of up to 40km without a booster and up to 80km with a booster.

I-Derby ER’ improved guidance

The I-Derby ER missile’s solid-state technology-based modern, state-of-the-art active radar seeker allows full operational flexibility by software-controlled operational parameters.

It enhances missile performance against novel emerging threats and enemy targets such as fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft, unmanned air vehicles (UAVs), standoff weapons, and cruise missiles. The simple and rapid software update process can be completed even during a combat round.

The dual-pulse rocket motor allows optimal thrust management according to mission requirements, which extends the operational flight range. I-Derby ER is integrated with sophisticated algorithms to optimise the missile’s trajectory as per the conditions during the launch and target behaviour.

It offers two-way communication, based on Rafael’s proven operational software-defined radio (SDR), which provides complete information on a particular target and other targets around it.

Operational benefits

The missile’s electronic counter-countermeasures (ECCM) are designed for exceptional operational flexibility during challenging aerial combat in a hostile condition and can be customised according to the customer’s operational requirements.

It has the all-weather operation and look-down/shoot-down capabilities as well as lock-on before launch/lock-on after launch modes of operation.