The indegenous Light Combat Aircraft Tejas achieved another milestone by successfuly test-firing an air-to-air beyond visual range (BVR) missle, bringing it a step closer to final operation clearance, the government said on Saturday.
Successfully demonstrating safe operation under the worst case scenario, the missile was launched by Tejas piloted by Wing Commander Siddharth Singh off the Goa coast.
"Integration of Derby, a BVR class missile, is one of the major objectives of Final Operational Clearance (FOC) of LCA Tejas," a defence statement said.
Tejas has been designed and developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) autonomous society - Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA).
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.
"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," a statement said.
Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman complimented the DRDO and other agencies involved for making LCA Tejas fighter jet, a world-class aircraft platform.
The Indian Air Force (IAF) had ordered 40 Tejas Mark-1 version. A request for proposal was issued to Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) by the IAF in December for procurement of another batch of 83 Tejas at a cost of around Rs 50,000 crore.