Python-5 a fifth-generation air-to-air missile (AAM) manufactured by Israel’s Rafael Advanced Defense Systems will now not be part of either upgraded Tejas Mk1A or the Tejas Mk2 fighter jet after Rafael failed to demonstrate and correct inflight vibrations and the instability issues that had cropped up while the missile was undergoing carriage trials. Israel’s Rafael has not officially commented on why it was not able to carry out design changes to rectify the issue, but IAF sources close to confirmed that the Close Combat Missile (CCM) that was to supplement the Russian R-73 Within Visual Range (WVR) missile on Tejas Mk1A and Mk2 fighter fleet is now dropped completely.

Python-5 missiles are widely used as a missile that is part of the SPYDER air defense system which is operational with India, the Philippines, and Georgia. Python-5 was the natural choice of the Indian Air Force (IAF), due to the easy availability of the missile in IAF Arsenal and also since Python-5 is a Dual-use missile system that can be used as an Interceptor as part of SPYDER air defense system and also has a standalone Close Combat Missile (CCM) on a fighter jet.

MBDA’s ASRAAM also known in India as Next Generation Close Combat Missile (NGCM) is now fast emerging as a Python-5 alternative while DRDO is in process of developing Dual-wavelength imaging seeker-based Astra short-medium ranged Within Visual Range (WVR) missile for the Tejas Mk1A and Mk2 fighter fleet. Russian R-73 will be temporary that will be replaced by NGCM and Astra-based Within Visual Range (WVR) missile in the future.

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