The Indian Navy is spending $25 million to buy 20 Israeli made BVR (Beyond Visual Range) Derby air-to-air missiles (AAMs). These are similar to the U.S. AMRAAM missile. The missiles are to be used by Sea Harriers aboard the aircraft carrier, INS Viraat.
The Derby has a range of up to 50 kilometers, a speed of 1,470 kilometer/hour and can lock on target before or after launch. An active radar seeker, with a look-down/shoot-down capability, the lightweight (about 250 pounds) Derby is designed for both medium and short range targets. The Derby was developed from the Python 4 heat seeking missile, and shares many components with it, including the 24 pound warhead. The guidance system is, of course, all new, and quite advanced.
Israel is offering a variant of the missile for export, keeping some key technologies for the Israeli version of the missile. The exported Derby has been offered to the Philippines and India, while South Korea and China, could be potential customers as well. The Indian Air Force is looking for a new BVR missiles for its fleet of Mirage 2000-H, Su-30 MKI, Jaguar and MiG-29 combat aircraft.
The agreement with India envisages Israeli specialists that will train the Navy in maintenance and operation of missiles. They will also supply racks and trailers. Delivery will start 30 months after the contract is signed, and will be completed within a year. -- HUMA