Hello defence lover! Recently Tejas has successfully fired Python 5 Air-to-Air missile. This indicates the integration of Python 5 on Tejas is almost complete. So why Python was chosen? Why not ASHRAAM or MICA IR? In this article, we would discuss everything about Python V and the significance of its integration on Tejas.
Developmental History Of Python 5
Python 5 is part of the Python missile family which is designed by the Israeli firm Rafael Advance systems. The first generation of this missile was developed way back in the 1950s. Initially, these missiles were called Shafrir which means a protective dome in Hebrew. Later keeping the export market in mind the name “python” was adopted.
Today there are many members in the Python family which include Shafrir 1, Shafrir 2, Python 3, python 4, python V, and even Derby and SPYDER are derivatives of Python. Over 15 countries around the globe use the Python family I some form or the other. The Chinese PL 8 is a cheap Chinese copy of the python 3 missiles.
The Python Family missiles are perhaps the most successful air to air missile ever made. These have been time and again tested in real battles. During the 1973 Arab-Israel war, 176 missiles were fired which killed over 89 enemy aircraft. During the 1982 Lebanon War 35 enemy fighters were shot down using the python 3. Thus python family is one of the most reliable missile systems.
Python 5 is the latest development in the python family. It incorporates Rafael’s latest technological achievements in the field of air to air missiles. It comes with Lock-On After Launch capability and all direction attack capability. It is equipped with an Imaging Infrared (IIR) seeker along with electro-optical sensors which make it deadly accurate. Due to its 18 control surfaces and thrust vectoring nozzle, the missile can perform manoeuvres of up to 50g. Other technical specifications are given below.
- Length: 310 cm
- Span: 64 cm
- Diameter: 16 cm
- Weight: 105 kg
- Guidance: IR + electro-optical imaging
- Warhead: 11 kg
- Range: >20 km
- Speed: Mach 4
Imaging Infrared Technology (IIR)
The IIR technology has brought an all-new generations in short-range air to air missiles. A typical IIR sensor uses an infrared camera and algorithms which make it smart enough to easily distinguish the heat signature of a jet engine from the heat signature of flares. Thus once launched, these IIR missiles give above 90% kill probability. In close-quarter dog fights, IIR missiles are very deadly. British ASRAAM and French MICA IR are some missiles that use IIR seekers.
Why Python-5 Is Perfect For Tejas?
Python-5 is the perfect short-range Air-to-Air missile for the Indigenous LCA Tejas because of many reasons. The primary reason is the Radar. As of now the Tejas MK 1 uses an Israeli Pulse doppler radar. Being a weapon of Israeli origin makes its integration way easier. The MBDA has denied the integration of ASRAAM on any platform which uses radars of Israeli or Russian origin. This is not the case with Rafael. India-Israel relations are another major reason as Israel has been a reliable defence partner compared to other western countries except for France. Overall Python increases Tejas’s dogfighting capabilities by many folds.