Beyond Visual Range Air-to-air Missiles for India’s LCA, Su-30MKI

  • Vishwanath Patil
  • Friday, June 8, 2018 @ 03:35 PM
  • 30049
Beyond Visual Range Air-to-air Missiles for India’s LCA, Su-30MKI

India’s plans of integrating the MBDA’s meteor missile on its LCA Tejas and Su-30MKI aircraft may not happen due to a reported reluctance on the part of MBDA to mount the missile on any Russian and Israeli platforms.

An Indian media source reported last week quoting an unnamed IAF official as saying, “The European manufacturers have told Air Force that they would not integrate the Meteor missile on either Russian platforms or with the Israeli equipment which can create issues but efforts are on to find a way out on the issue.”

Beyond Visual Range Air-to-air Missiles for India’s LCA, Su-30MKI

India, however has bought Meteor missiles to be integrated on Dassault Rafale fighters. MBDA’s reluctance might be due to the missile having been selected for the integration of the F-35 aircraft bought by the UK in 2017. This will potentially open up a huge market for the Meteor to sell into the F-35 ecosystem.

Beyond Visual Range Air-to-air Missiles for India’s LCA, Su-30MKI

Other alternatives of Beyond Visual Range Air-to-Air Missiles for Indian fighter aircraft LCA Tejas and Su-30MKI and their comparison with Meteor missiles:


Meteor Missile

Israeli Derby


Novator KS-172

Astra Mk 1 BVRAAM

Russian R77


BVR air-to-air missile

Medium range BVR air-to-air missile

Long range air-to-air missile

Air-to-air missile

Medium-range, air-to-air missile




Novator and DRDO

Bharat Dynamics Ltd/DRDO


Unit Cost







190 kg (419 lb)

118 kg

748 kg (1,650 lb)

154 kg (340 lb)

175 kg


3.7 m (12 ft 2 in)

362 cm


6.01 m (19.7 ft) + 1.4 m (4.6 ft)

3.57 m (11.7 ft)

3.6 m 


0.178 m (7.0 in)

64 cm

40 cm (16 in) 

178 mm (7.0 in)

200 mm


High explosive blast-fragmentation

High-Explosive fragmentation

High Explosive fragmentation

High-explosive pre-fragmented warhead

22.5 kg High Explosive  fragmenting

Warhead Weight


23 kg

50 kg (110 lb)

15 kg (33 lb)


Detonation Mechanism

Proximity/impact fuse

Active laser and electromagnetic proximity fuse


Radar proximity fuse

laser proximity fuze



ducted rocket

Rocket motor

Solid-propellant tandem rocket booster

Solid propellant

Solid fuel rocket motor (R-77), air-breathing ramjet (R-77-PD)

Operational Range

100+ km(63 mi, 60 km No Escape Zone)

50 km

I-Derby variant has 100 km

At least 200 km, possibly 300–400 km (160–210 nmi)

80–110 km (50–68 mi) in head-on chase and 20 km (12 mi) in tail chase

80 km (R-77), 110 km (R-77-1) >193km (K-77M)


over Mach 4

Mach 4

4,000 km/h (2,500 mph; 1.1 km/s; Mach 3.3)

Mach 4.5

Mach 4

Guidance System

Inertial guidance, mid-course update via datalink, terminal active radar homing

Active radar homing

inertial navigation with midcourse guidance and terminal active radar homing 

Inertial, mid-course update and terminal active radar homing

Inertial with mid-course update and terminal active radar homing/infrared homing (R-77T)



64 cm

61 cm (24 in) 


700 mm

Flight Ceiling



3 m (9.8 ft)–30,000 m (98,000 ft)

20 km (66,000 ft)

5–25 km (16,000–82,000 ft)

Launch Platform

Eurofighter Typhoon
Dassault Rafale
Saab JAS 39 Gripen

F-16, F-15, Su-30, JAS39-Gripen, Mirage-2000, LCA, F/A-50

Su-27, Su-30, Su-35, Su-30MKI,  Su-57


MiG-21, MiG-23, MiG-25, MiG-27, MiG-29, MiG-31, MiG-35, Su-27, Su-30, Su-33, Su-34, Su-35, LCA Tejas, Yak-141, Chengdu J-10

Beyond Visual Range Air-to-air Missiles for India’s LCA, Su-30MKI

The Derby (Alto) is a BVRAAM developed by Israeli company, Rafael. In February 2005, India ordered 20 missiles and six practice missiles for integration onto its Navy’s Sea Harrier aircraft for $25 million.
The Indian Air Force tested Derby for the first time in May, 2017 and again on April 27, this year achieving the Final Operational Clearance (FOC) for its Tejas fighter aircraft.

India completed the final development flight trials of Astra from Su-30MKI fighter aircraft in September 2017. The missile is capable of detecting and destroying highly manoeuvrable targets, moving at a supersonic speed. The IAF has mostly dependent on Russian and Israeli air-to-air systems to meet its battlefield requirements.