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Munitions / Air to air missiles / Derby


General Facts

  • TYPE
    Air to air missile
    Surface to air missile


    Alto (alternative name)

    Early 1980's - early 2000's


    Mid 2000's - present

    Israel - Rafael



    Both short range and BVR capability
    Fire and forget capability
    Very high agility
    Can also be surface launched
    Limited size and weight


The Derby is a modern Israeli air to air missile. It is a further development of the successful Python series. It features active radar homing and beyond visual range capability. The Derby is more in the league of the French MICA RF than the US AMRAAM or Russian R-77.


The Derby can be considered an enlarged version of the Python 4 missile using active radar homing instead of infrared guidance. As such the Derby is a medium sized missile. The layout is conventional with the guidance section in front, followed by the warhead and with the rocket motor making up the rear half of the missile. There are four steerable fins at the front and four small steerable wings at the rear.


The Derby uses active radar homing and can be launched at targets at short range and beyond visual range. At longer ranges the missile uses inertial navigation before the missile's own radar acquires the target. Seeker and ECCM quality are reportedly very good.


The Derby is a capable missile with a maximum range of about 50 km. When launched from a fighter the typical maximum speed is Mach 4. Lock on after launch allows for all aspect engagement. When launched from the ground the maximum range is quoted to be over 35 km. The maximum altitude is 16 km at a much reduced maximum range.


The Derby is used on the Israeli F-16I. It can also be integrated with other types of F-16, the F-5 Tiger and the French Mirage. Reportedly it is to be used on the Indian Tejas as well. Additionally the Derby can also be used as a surface to air missile. The truck mounted SPYDER system is able to launch both the Derby and the infrared guided Python 5.


The main user of the Derby is Israel where it is used alongside the infrared guided Python series and radar homing AMRAAM. Additional sales have been to Georgia and India.



The Derby is produced in only one variant. This model is both capable to launched from aircraft or from the ground based SPYDER system, making the missile truly multipurpose. The Derby can be identified by its pointed radome which is very different from the round infrared seekers used on the Python series. Additionally it has only a single set of forward fins. Compared to other radar guided missiles, such as AMRAAM and Sparrow, the forward fins are located much closer to the nose.

TypeAir to air missile
Diameter0.16 m body, 0.64 m wingspan
Length3.62 m
Weight118 kg
GuidanceActive radar homing, lock on befor launch or inertial flight with lock on after launch
Warhead23 kg warhead
PropulsionSingle-stage solid propellant rocket motor
SpeedMach 4
Range50 km
Engagement envelope-


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