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Ground-Based I-DERBY ER Completes Development

Rafael Conducts Ground Launch Test

Rafael conducted a ground launch of the ground-based air defence variant of the I-DERBY ER (Extended Range) air-to-air missile in late February, aimed at evaluating the missile’s command and control, navigation, and flight trajectory capabilities, the company announced on 26 February. The tests are a significant milestone in development of the weapon – Rafael’s newest and most advanced electromagnetic air-to-air missiles, and mark completion of its ground-version development.

Pini Yungman, Head of Rafael’s Air & Missile Defence Systems division, commented that “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 100km. 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 defence applications. These achievements provide significant air superiority to the fighter pilot or the air defence commander.”

I-DERBY ER features a dual-pulse rocket motor and an active radar seeker, providing superior performance advantages both at short  and BVR ranges. The missile has fire-and-forget capabilities, allowing the operator to tackle multiple targets simultaneously. Its light weight allows it to be adapted to a variety of modern aircraft, including the F-16, F-15, F-18, GRIPEN, LCA, TYPHOON and more.

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

A long-range derivative of the DERBY, the missile benefits from the development of several generations of air-to-air missiles, including the PYTHON family, and a total of over 150 combat interceptions in Israel and elsewhere. I-DERBY ER incorporates Rafael’s innovative 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, including EW. The software update process is quick and simple, and can be performed in a timely manner.

I-DERBY ER incorporates electronic counter-countermeasures (ECCM) designed to deal with the challenges of aerial combat in a hostile environment with exceptional operational flexibility, adaptable to operational requirements. The dual-pulse rocket motor enables optimal thrust management and  significantly extended range. The missile’s brain contains sophisticated algorithms to optimise trajectory according to launch conditions and target behavior. Furthermore, the missile’s two-way communication, based on Rafael’s proven operational software-defined radio, supplies a complete information set on the chosen target and on those in close vicinity.

For a brief video of the missile test, click here:

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