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Maiden trial of Python-5 air-to-air missile fired by Tejas light combat aircraft


Tejas, India's indigenous Light Combat Aircraft, added the 5th generation Python-5 Air-to-Air Missile (AAM) in its air-to-air weapons capability on April 27, 2021. Trials were also aimed to validate enhanced capability of already integrated Derby Beyond Visual Range (BVR) AAM on Tejas. The test firing at Goa completed a series of missile trials to validate its performance under extremely challenging scenarios.

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Maiden trial of Python 5 air to air missile fired by Tejas light combat aircraft The missiles were fired from Tejas aircraft of Aeronautical Development Agency flown by Indian Air Force Test pilots belonging to National Flight Test Centre (Picture source: Government of India)


Derby missile achieved direct hit on a high-speed maneuvering aerial target and the Python missiles also achieved 100% hits, thereby validating their complete capability. The trials met all their planned objectives.

Prior to these trials, extensive missile carriage flight tests were conducted at Bengaluru to assess integration of the missile with aircraft systems on board the Tejas, like Avionics, Fire-control radar, Missile Weapon Delivery System and the Flight Control System. At Goa, after successful separation trials, live launch of the missile on a Banshee target was carried out. Python-5 missile live firing was conducted to validate target engagement from all aspects as well as beyond visual ranges. In all the live firings, missile hit the aerial target.

The missiles were fired from Tejas aircraft of Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) flown by Indian Air Force (IAF) Test pilots belonging to National Flight Test Centre (NFTC). The successful conduct was made possible with years of hard work by the team of scientists, engineers and technicians from ADA and HAL-ARDC along with admirable support from CEMILAC, DG-AQA, IAF PMT, NPO (LCA Navy) and INS HANSA.

Python 5 is a fifth generation air-to-air missile that provides the pilot engaging an enemy aircraft with a full sphere launch capability. The missile can be launched from very short to beyond the visual range with greater probability of kill, excellent resistance to countermeasures, irrespective of evasive target manoeuvre or deployment of countermeasures.

Raksha Mantri Shri Rajnath Singh has congratulated the teams of DRDO, ADA, Indian Air Force, HAL and all involved in the trial. Secretary Department of Defence R&D and Chairman DRDO Dr G Satheesh Reddy appreciated the efforts of scientists, engineers and technicians from various organisations and industry.