RAFAEL is unveiling a new, extended range version of its Beyond Visual Range (BVR) active radar-guided air-to-air missile – the I-Derby ER. It is an evolutionary version of the Derby BVR missile unveiled earlier this year at Aero India. The Derby entered service in the mid-1990s and is fielded with six customers worldwide.

The latest variant is equipped with a new seeker that employs an advanced solid-state Software Defined Radar (SDR), based on combat proven technology derived from the Tamir missile, the interceptor used in RAFAEL’s Iron Dome system.

The new seeker is lighter and more compact than its predecessor, thus clearing valuable space which has been used by the missile designers to increase the propulsion system by adding a second mode (kick), accelerating the missile at the terminal phase of the flight. This new addition increases the range of the I-Derby ER beyond 100 km., significantly more than its current “short/medium” range capability.

This “second kick” greatly improves the missile’s performance. “This phase is not serial, but operates independently of the primary rocket propulsion as it is activated at any time during the fight, by the flight control system.” Yaniv explains. The second pulse would likely kick in when the missile is closing on its target, accelerating it and increasing its kinematic envelope, thus increasing its “no escape zone”.

The use of SDR technology means the missile seeker can be reprogrammed with software upgrades including new waveforms, duty cycles and processing techniques, addressing new threats, countermeasures and techniques that may evolve through its lifespan of 20-30 years.

Another advantage of the I-Derby ER is its ability to lock onto targets before and after launch, enabling the aircraft to engage targets at all ranges.

Currently completing development, I-Derby ER will soon be available for delivery for new orders, or replacement of existing stocks. “We already have several customers seeking long-range intercept capabilities, some are looking at I-Derby ER as the most suitable and affordable solution for their requirements,” says RAFAEL.

A major advantage of the I-Derby ER is that it uses the same missile envelope. Unlike the AAIM-120D or Meteor, I-Derby ER will be compatible with aircraft currently cleared to carry Derby. RAFAEL claims it will be able to deliver 80% of the Meteor’s performance at a third of its cost. It is also superior to the AIM-120C7 and more affordable, the company claims. Already cleared on F-16 (Block 52), F-5E, Kfir and Sea Harrier, I-Derby ER integration tests are currently under way on the Indian Tejas LCA.