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MILITARY TECHNOLOGY (MILTECH) is the world's leading international tri-service defence monthly magazine in the English language. MILITARY TECHNOLOGY is "Required Reading for Defence Professionals". Follow us on Twitter: MILTECH1

20 October 2015

Seoul ADEX 2015: Rafael exhibits I-DERBY ER Multi-Range Air-to-Air Missile

Rafael Advanced Defense Systems is participating in this year's edition of the Seoul International Aerospace and Defense Exhibition (ADEX). Among the many products it is showcasing, is the company's latest addition to the DERBY family of BVR air-to-air missiles, the I-DERBY ER.

An advanced active radar missile, I-DERBY ER is capable of dealing with emerging threats that feature enhanced EW and RCS features according to Yaniv Rotem, former head of the Israeli Air Force's air-to-air branch and now working for Rafael. Speaking to MT prior to ADEX 2015, Rotem explained how Rafael's first BVR missile, the medium range DERBY that became operational in 1998, had evolved into the I-DERBY by adding a new solid state RF seeker with the missile being manufactured "end to end" by the company from Israel. While maintaining I-DERBY' seeker, the parameters of which are controlled by software, an important fact if one wants to stay ahead of the threat over the missile's life span that can last for decades according to Rotem, the latest I-DERBY ER features an increase of kinematic performance.

Complementing the company's PYTHON-5 short range air-to-air missile, the I-DERBY ER is dubbed by Rafael as a multi-range missile that has effective performance in both short and BVR engagements, the latter up to a range of 100 km. In order to achieve this, Rafael, "shrank the forward part of the missile, the part which contains all non-explosive components," Rotem said. A new RF based proximity fuze has been integrated while, "all electronics were combined into one section," with the space that became available due to the miniaturization of these electronics now being used, "for extra propellant," with the missile's overall dimensions remaining the same. I-DERBY ER also features a dual pulse rocket motor that has excellent propulsion management according to information provided by the company with so-called trajectory shaping algorithms being used to optimize the missile's trajectory based on launch conditions and predicted target behaviour.

"We have maintained lock on before launch capability," Rotem said with either the host aircraft's radar or a helmet mounted sight display being used to cue the missile's seeker. What has also been maintained is I-DERBY's duality with it being capable of being used in the ground based SPYDER air defence system too. The new all weather missile is qualified, certified and ready to enter service according to Rotem with Rafael now pursuing contracts with potential customers. Now featuring long range performance, I-DERBY ER will allow Rafael to compete with MBDA's METEOR BVR missile at more favourable terms. Rotem claims that Rafael, "can deliver 80% of the range at 50 percent of the price. On top of that I-Derby ER has LOBL capability and it maintains short range performance."

A datalink based on Rafael's Global-Link SDR or another customer supplied system can also be integrated. Although Derby deliveries are still ongoing, Rotem made clear that from now on all new contracts will involve the production of either I-DERBY or I-DERBY ER missiles
Pieter Bastiaans

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