In a significant move to advance the weapons portfolio of the indigenously developed fighter, India’s state-owned Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has successfully conducted the flight trials of the 5th generation “Python-5” Close Combat Missile (CCM) from Light Combat Aircraft, Tejas, on Tuesday. The test-firings at Goa were also aimed to validate the enhanced capability of the already integrated ‘i-Derby’ beyond visual range air-to-air missile (BVRAAM) on LCA. Both the RAFAEL Advanced Defence Systems developed air-to-air missiles achieved 100% precise hits on high-speed manoeuvring air targets under extremely challenging conditions, hence, met all planned mission objectives.
“Tejas, India’s indigenous Light Combat Aircraft, added the 5th generation Python-5 Air-to-Air Missile (AAM) in its weapons capability yesterday, 27th April 2021. Trials were also aimed to validate the enhanced capability of already integrated Derby Beyond Visual Range (BVR) AAM,” said DRDO in a tweet. https://twitter.com/DRDO_India/status/1387310622107336705?s=19
Before flight trials, DRDO with other stakeholders undertook extensive missile carriage flight tests at Bengaluru to assess the integration of the missile with LCA’s systems, like Avionics, Fire-control radar, Missile Weapon Delivery System and the Flight Control System. The live firing of 5th generation Israeli Python-5 was performed to confirm the precision attack capability on the targets from all aspects as well as beyond visual ranges. The next generation anti-aircraft missile achieved 100℅ direct hits on air targets in all live firings.
These recent trials of Python-5 onboard Indian Light Combat Aircraft are remarkable as it is the first time when Tejas test-fired this 5th generation advanced CCM eliminating all excessive vibration or flutter issues encountered in previous flight trials for years. The integration and flight trials of Python-5 from single-engined LCA were made possible with years of hard work by the team of HAL-ARDC engineers and technicians, and DRDO’s scientists along with commendable backing from CEMILAC, DG-AQA, IAF and Indian Navy.
Tejas is the first truly Indian supersonic jet designed and developed within the country and is manufactured by state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL. The supersonic aircraft is very capable of operating in rough Indian conditions including high-altitude as well as extremely hot desert scenarios. In February this year, the HAL secured its largest-ever indigenous aerospace deal worth $5.2 billion from Indian MoD for supplying the Indian Air Force with 83 advanced generations LCA called LCA Mk-1A. With Python-5 getting added onto its arsenal, Tejas will be a force to reckon with when it takes to skies.
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