Rafael completes development of I-Derby ER air-to-air missile 

The latest version of the advanced weapon has a range of over 100km and is highly effective in air-to-air battles, the company says

Photo: Rafael

Israel's Rafael Advanced Defense Systems announced Friday that it has completed development of the ground-based air defense version of its I-Derby ER (Extended Range) air-to-air missile. During the series of tests concluded earlier in the week in southern Israel, the company said, it carried out a ground launch to test the missile’s command and control, navigation, and flight trajectory capabilities. 

The tests were a significant milestone in development of the I-Derby ER, which is the newest and most advanced of Rafael’s electromagnetic air-to-air missiles. They also marked the completion of the development of the missile’s ground-based version, according to Rafael. 

Brig. Gen. (Res.) Pini Yungman, EVP and head of Rafael's air and missile defense systems division, said "Rafael has been Israel’s national home of air-to-air missiles since the country’s founding, when we developed Israel’s very first air-to-air missile – Shafrir. Ever since, Rafael has excelled in the development of various air-to-air missiles, many of which are in operational use today by the IDF and air forces worldwide." 

"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. 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. These achievements provide significant air superiority to the fighter pilot or the air defense commander."

The I-Derby ER, with a range of over 100 km, has a dual-pulse rocket motor and an active radar seeker, providing combat aircraft with exceptional 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 modern fighter jets, including the F-16, F-15, F-18, Gripen, LCA, Typhoon and more, according to Rafael.  

The I-Derby ER 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 almost immediately 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 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, said the company.

The missile is a long-range version of the Derby missile in operational use among several air forces worldwide. It is part of Rafael's several generations of air-to-air missile families which it has developed over the past 65 years, with more than 150 combat interceptions in Israel and around the world. This includes the Python missile family with its most advanced missile, Python-5, operational with the Israeli Air Force and a number of other air forces, according to Rafael. 

The I-Derby ER incorporates Rafael’s software-controlled radar seeker, which allows full operational flexibility by controlling all operational parameters through software. This capability enables upgraded missile performance against new threats and enemy tactics such as electronic warfare and new aerial targets. The software update process is quick and simple, and can be performed in a timely manner relevant for during a combat round, the company says. 

I-Derby ER contains electronic counter-countermeasures designed to deal with the challenges of aerial combat in a hostile environment with exceptional operational flexibility, adaptable to the customer's operational requirements. The missile's dual-pulse rocket motor enables optimal thrust management in accordance with mission requirements, providing the significantly-extended flight range. The missile uses sophisticated algorithms to optimize its trajectory according to launch conditions and target behavior. The I-Derby ER also features two-way communication, based on Rafael's operationally-proven SDR, supplying a complete set of information on the chosen target and on those in the close vicinity, according to Rafael. 

Photo: Rafael