Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas is likely to test-fire Beyond Visual Range Air-to-Air Missile (BVRAAM) Derby and Close Combat Missile (CCM) Python-5 (both from Israel) for the first time in Jamnagar.
Sources confirmed to Mathrubhumi on Wednesday that the firing of Derby and Python missiles were originally planned during this week when two Tejas were halting at the Air Force Station Jamnagar.
Two Tejas LSP-4 and LSP-7 were stationed at Jamnagar for a week after they were ferried from Bengaluru on January 5.
As reported by Mathrubhumi recently, Tejas will be demonstrating its dogfight capabilities at the Bahrain International Air Show (BIAS-2016) scheduled from January 21-23.
The test-firing of the missiles have been rescheduled after the two aircraft return from BIAS-2016. Both planes were scheduled to leave the base today enroute to Muscat and finally to the Sakhir Airbase in Bahrain.
Tejas’ participation has already caught the attention of international media with Pakistan too sending its JF-17s Thunder aircraft for the show.
Interestingly, both Tejas and JF-17s have been allotted the same apron (Pad No 15) at BIAS-2016. Typhoons from Royal Air Force will also be giving company to the fighters from India and Pakistan on the same parking bay.
While BIAS-2016 will be the first international outing for Tejas, Pakistan’s JF-17, co-developed along with the Chinese, have already been to couple of air shows.
Tejas is awaiting its Final Operational Clearance (FOC) ahead of its induction into the Indian Air Force (IAF) in mid-2016, while JF-17s have already been flying in Pakistan Air Force colours from 2010.
“The next firing is part of the FOC point that Tejas need to clear. We will be testing for the accuracy of the missiles this time. The captured data will be validated as per the FOC requirement,” says an official.
He said the decision to postpone the test was taken after both aircraft had to be made available for a series of Customs clearance formalities ahead of Bahrain trip.
“Now, we hope to schedule the trials on its return from Bahrain. Our technical teams (around 150) are already stationed here (Jamnagar), Muscat and Bahrain. The telemetry station has also been set up at Bahrain,” says the official.
In addition to Derby and Python, the weapon pack of Tejas includes Russian-made CCM R-73, laser-guided bombs (LGB) Griffin and Paveway and Russian-made gun Gsh-23.
The CCM R-73 has been fired over a dozen times now at Goa, Jaisalmer and Jamnagar as part of the weapon trials of Tejas over the years. Tejas platforms are expected to be back from Bahrain to Jamnagar base on January 23. @Mathrubhumi