Tejas, the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) successfully fired [an Israeli-made] Derby Air-to-Air Beyond Visual Range Missile to expand the firing envelope as well as to demonstrate safe operation of the aircraft during missile plume ingestion into the aircraft engine under worst case scenarios.
The missile was launched from LCA Tejas piloted by Wg Cdr Siddharth Singh on 27 April 2018 from the firing range off the Goa coast after exhaustive study of the missile separation characteristics and plume envelope. LCA Tejas has been designed & developed by DRDO’s autonomous society – Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA).
Integration of Derby, a BVR class missile, is one of the major objectives of Final Operational Clearance (FOC) of LCA Tejas.
The aircraft was tracked by two other Tejas aircraft in close formation to capture the firing event in the specially instrumented high-speed cameras for detailed analysis and comparison with the simulation model for validation. The entire planning, practice sorties and final firing was carried out by ADA and its National Flight Test Centre (NFTC) officials Cmde JA Maolankar and Gp Capt A Kabadwal, IAF, DG(AQA), HAL & INS HANSA.
Based on the successful integration and demonstration, Regional Centre for Military Airworthiness (RCMA), a unit of DRDO has cleared the series production aircraft of Squadron 45, to be equipped with Derby operational capability.
LCA Tejas has successfully completed a series of captive flight trials to clear Derby for the full operational capability in the entire FOC envelope. In the past, Tejas has qualified for the armaments and missile release related trials.
Raksha Mantri Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman has complimented DRDO and other agencies involved for making LCA Tejas fighter jet, a world class aircraft platform.
Chairman DRDO& Secretary Department of Defence R&D Dr. S Christopher, congratulated and said that with this firing, LCATejas achieved another major milestone towards FOC certification.