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The Python-5 is the newest member of the Python family. The Python 5 was announced at the 2003 Paris Air Show. It is based on the existing Rafael Python 4, using the same airframe, rocket motor, proximity fuze and warhead. The guidance system is new, and the updated missile was expected to be in service with the Israeli Air Force in 2005. It is used onboard the F15i Ra'am and the F16i Sufa.

This fifth generation air-to-air missile provides the pilot engaging an enemy aircraft with a revolutionary full sphere launch capability. The missile can be launched from very short to beyond-visual ranges with greater kill probability, excellent resistance to countermeasures, irrespective of evasive target manoeuvers or deployment of countermeasures. The Python-5's unique full sphere performance is achieved by a combination of Lock On-After-Launch (LOAL) and excellent acquisition and tracking capabilities. Its dual waveband Focal Plane Array (FPA) seeker and sophisticated algorithms enable acquisition of even small, low signature targets in look-down, adverse background and cloudy environments.

Successful developmental and operational testing of the Python-5 missile has already been carried out, including extensive captive carry evaluation and homing tests. Python-5 has demonstrated outstanding target detection and tracking.

The Python-5 complemented with the Derby BVR missile is used as an interceptor in the Spyder short and medium range air defense systems. Both Spyder systems are designed to engage and destroy a wide spectrum of threats, such as attack aircraft, bombers, cruise missiles, UAVs and UCAVs and stand-off weapons.

  • Effective performance for very short range and near beyond visual range intercepts
  • High probability of kill in various encounter conditions
  • High resistance to countermeasures
  • Adaptable to a wide range of aircraft
  • Dual use missile (air-to-air and surface-to-air)
  • Full sphere launch envelope from very short to beyond visual ranges
  • Target Lock-On-Before and After Launch capability (LOBL & LOAL Modes)
  • Acquisition of even small, low signature targets in lookdown, adverse background and cloudy environments
  • Fifth-generation imaging seeker with extremely high off-boresight capability

Python-5 combines advanced innovative technologies with operationally proven Python-4 components. The missile incorporates a new dual waveband imaging seeker, advanced computer architecture, Inertial Navigation System (INS), sophisticated Infrared Counter- Counter-Measures (IRCCM) and sophisticated flight control algorithms. Python-5 maintains Python-4's unique aerodynamic airframe, INS, powerful rocket motor, warhead and proximity fuze.

In late 2006 it was reported that the US Air Force was to buy 20 Python 5 Full Sphere air-to-air missiles from Rafael Armament Development Authority Ltd., for a F-16 fighter squadron stationed at Nevada. Should the negotiations lead to a contract, this would be the first time that the US Air Force has purchased air-to-air missiles from a foreign manufacturer.

Weight 105 kg 231.5 lb
Length 310 cm 122 in
Wing Span 64 cm 25.2 in
Diameter 16 cm 6 in

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Page last modified: 09-07-2011 02:52:24 ZULU