BENGALURU: Made-in-India combat jet ‘Tejas’, which participated in the biggest war games “Gagan Shakti” of the Indian Air Force (IAF) recently, fired an air-to-air beyond visual range (BVR) Derby missile to demonstrate its capability as an effective combat jet, and moved to the threshold of final operational clearance (FOC).
Sources in the ministry of defence (MoD) said in the light of integration of the missile with the fighter jet and subsequent firing of the Derby missile acquired from Israel, the Regional Centre for Military Airworthiness (RCMA), a unit of DRDO, cleared all 'Tejas' aircraft of No 45 squadron (Flying daggers) of IAF to be equipped with capability to fire these missiles. These combat jets have already completed a series of captive flight trials with the Derby missile. The planning, practice sorties and final firing of the missile was carried out by the Aeronautical Develop ment Agency (ADA), the nodal organization for design and development of this jet and the National Flight Test Centre (NFTC), Bengaluru.
The IAF will induct 123 of these indigenous military jets with Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL), Bengaluru, scheduled to roll out the aircraft in phases for the air strike wing. The first 'Tejas' jet was inducted into the IAF on July 1, 2016. Sources said the Derby missile was fired by a ' Tejas' off the coast of Goa during a sortie flown by Wing Commander Siddharth Singh on Friday. "Integration of Derby, a BVR class missile, is one of the major objectives of FOC of 'Tejas'" says a statement issued by MoD.
The statement said defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman complimented DRDO and other agencies involved in making 'Tejas' a world-class aircraft.
DRDO Chairman Dr S. Christopher said with this firing, 'Tejas' has achieved another major milestone towards FOC certification....