India's LCA Tejas fighter aircraft moved a step closer to its final operational clearance (FOC) with the firing of a Beyond Visual Range Air-to-Air Missile (BVRAAM) "Derby".
One of the limited series production (LSP) aircraft called LSP-7 from tje Tejas flightline fired the missile in Jamnagar (air base) as part of its scheduled weapon trials. These weapon trials are part of the Final Operational Clearance (FOC) mandate, One India News website reported on Friday.
The website said quoting sources that LSP-7 fired the BVRAAM Derby missile on a BNG (Ballistic Non Guided) mode. It was the 169th flight of LSP-7 and was piloted by Group Capt Rangachari of National Flight Test Centre.
The LCA Tejas is also scheduled to fire a Close Combat Missile (CCM) Python-5 missile as part of the FOC trails.
"It's a great achievement. We are awaiting the test results. The next schedule will be decided based on our analysis. We are awaiting the data," the website quoted an official attached to the weapon trials programme as saying.
The LSP-7 along with LSP-4 were part of Indian flying assets at the just-concluded Bahrain International Air Show (BIAS-2016). India is trying to accelerate the final trials of the LCA Tejas as it wants to induct over a 100 fighters into the air force as replacement for the MiG-21.
In addition, the Indian government wants to tap the export market for light strike fighters similar to the Pakistan-Chinese JF-17.