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Rafael’s Derby ER missile makes ground-based air defense debut

Derby missile on wingtip
Photo: Rafael

The ground-based air defense version of the I-Derby ER (extended range) air-to-air missile that is being developed by Israel’s Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd. recently performed a ground launch to test the missile’s command and control, navigation, and flight trajectory capabilities.

These tests serve as a significant milestone in I-Derby ER’s development, which is the newest and most advanced of Rafael’s electromagnetic air-to-air missiles, and it marks the completion of the missile’s ground-version development.

Rafael’s I-Derby ER missile is a an over 100 km long-range air-to-air missile with a dual-pulse rocket motor and an active radar seeker, providing combat aircraft with performance advantages both at short ranges or beyond visual range.

The missile has fire-and-forget capabilities, allowing the operator to tackle multiple targets simultaneously. The missile’s light weight allows it to be adapted to a variety of fighter jets, including the F-16, F-15, F-18, Gripen, LCA, Typhoon and more, Rafael says.

“This week, we completed a series of tests in the development of the I-Derby missile in its latest version – ER – which allows for Beyond Visual Range (BVR) launches over 100 km,” Brig. Gen. (Res.) Pini Yungman, EVP, Rafael’s head of air and missile defense systems division, commented.

“This is a key milestone in the development of a missile with some of the most advanced capabilities, giving it significant interception advantages in air-to-air battles, as well as ground-to-air air defense applications.”

The I-Derby ER Missile is identical in shape and size to the Derby missile currently in service worldwide. The ground-based air defense version of the missile can be integrated onto air defense batteries such as Rafael’s SPYDER system, which provides air defense for ranges between 20 to 60 km. Launched from the ground, the I-Derby ER missile doubles the existing missile range, and allows target interception within a range of up to 40 km without a booster, and 80 km with a booster.

I-Derby ER incorporates Rafael’s software-controlled radar seeker, which enables upgraded missile performance against new threats and enemy tactics such as electronic warfare and new aerial targets.

The missile also contains electronic counter-countermeasures (ECCM) designed to deal with the challenges of aerial combat in a hostile environment.