The Python air-to-air missiles are a family of missiles designed and built by Israeli weapons developer Rafael.
Originally the family was started with the Shafrir-1, which started development in 1959 to satisfy the IAFs needs for a domestic A/A missile after heavy arms embargos.
The Shafrir-1 was intended for use on Mirage III French fighter jets, but after testing in France its performance was so poor development was immediately started on a second version.
Instead of being fitted on Israel’s fighter jet fleet, they were instead put onto the Vautour Jet Bomber as a self defense measure.
In game, the Shafrir-1 is comparable to an AIM-9B with 1G of extra pull and is only used on 2 vehicles, the Vautour IIA and Vautour IIN.
After the first attempt Israel made to make an air-to-air missile which was almost a complete failure, they continued development on a new missile, which was an upgrade and overall redesign of the previous Shafrir-1.
It was designed to be a small, maneuverable missile which would directly impact the target instead of using a proximity fuse. This combined with the fact that the motor and warhead had been made larger and therefor heavier caused a large dip in performance.
Eventually, due to the Israeli military wanting to speed up development and increase efficiency in spending costs the contract was handed over from IMI (Israeli Military Industries) to Rafael. After the take over of the project, the engineers and Rafael were able to fix the Shafrir-2’s many development issues and caught up with the IAF’s expectations.
The Shafrir-2 was an incredible success for the IAF as it was credited with 89 kills in the Yom Kippur war and 106 during its entire service life. It also did exceptionally well commercially, with lots of export customers in South America and South East Asia.
In game, the Shafrir-2 is a exceptional missile for its BR, it first appears and 9.0 on the Sa’ar. It can pull 18Gs which is the most maneuverable missile at 9.0 (unless you get an uptier into a match with A10s/SU25s). Its only real problem is the rather short range with a short burn time and a subpar motor. But its still great as a dogfight missile and just won’t get you any kills past 1.5-2km if they are running away from you.
The Python 3 is almost a complete redesign of the Shafrir-2 that was spearheaded by Rafael after the completion of the Shafrir-2 program. Development started in the late 1970s but was quickly sped up by the Lebanon War in 1982. It was so rushed in fact that even pre-production Python 3s were being used and tested in actual combat.
The new missile upgrades about every part of the Shafrir-2 possible, new fins, motor, seeker, warhead, etc. Some of the new features greatly increased the killing power and survivability of IAF aircraft
Some of these features include:
- All Aspect capability, including head on interception
- High-G dogfight maneuvers (up to 40Gs 2-plane)
- Much longer effective range
- Radar slaving and a 30 degrees uncaged seakerhead
- Reliability above 95%
- Max speed of Mach 3.5
These features allowed the Python 3 to down more than 50 enemy aircraft in the Lebanon War. After the war, the Israeli Air Force proudly claimed it to be faster, have tighter turning, and longer range than the AIM-9L. The Python 3 was also licensed to the PLAAF in 1989 and still sees active use in many air forces toady.
In game the Python 3 (as of La Royale) is the best IR air-to-air missile in the game, pulling an astounding 40Gs and accelerating extremely quickly. With a short burn time on the motor, it can be hard for enemies to see this coming if they aren’t completely attentive. Although it gets one flared from front aspect, it can sometimes be tricky to flare from rear aspects. Still an incredibly strong missile.
From here on out information can be quite scarce and hard to come by, so don’t roast me too hard if I miss some stuff.
The Python 4 is Israel’s first 4th generation air-to-air missile, developed in the early 1990s built and for integration with HMDs (Helmet Mounted Display/Device) and the Israeli Elbit made DASH (Display and Sight Helmet) system. It was specifically made to counter the Soviet R-73/HMS of the Mig-29 which were being integrated into the air forces of Israel’s enemies at the time.
The missile was extremely advanced for its time and could pull around 70Gs and could even preform a 180 degree turn and hit a target behind the aircraft. The Python 4 can do all this while not employing a thrust vectoring motor, instead using an extremely aerodynamic design made to achieve as high a turn rate as possible.
The Python 4’s seeker also uses dual band technology arrays (also seen on the FIM-92 Stinger) that can see targets in infrared and ultraviolet giving it very strong IRCCM capabilities and reducing the effectiveness of enemy flares.
The commercial success of the Python 4 is also very noteworthy, its in operational use with Israel, India, Brazil, Chile, Thailand, Venezuela, Singapore, Ecuador, Columbia and is in trials with the Australian Air Force.
As of the first Son’s of Attila dev server the Python 4 is not in the game yet, but when it does get added in the future I’d expect it to preform harder turning R-73 but with the speed of a Python 3.
Python 4 Images
The Python 5 is the most advanced air-to-air missile in Israel’s inventory and one of the most advanced air-to-air missiles in the entire world. It takes what the Python 4 is built on and turns it up to 11. Not only does it integrate thrust vectoring onto the platform, it also has a total of 18 aerodynamic surfaces which allowed it to maneuver just as well before and after the motor has burned out.
With a max speed of Mach 4 and a range of 18km+ it can be used as a BVR missile , including a LOAL (Lock On After Launch) which scans a predetermined area for hostile aircraft and can be used like a mad-dog radar missile.
It is currently in operational use with Israel, India, Singapore, Georgia, Vietnam, and Columbia. It was first used in the 2006 Lebanon War where it was used to shoot down two Ababil UAVs used by Hezbollah, and on May 13th 2021 it was used to shoot down a Hamas operated suicide drone.
I guarantee we won’t see this in-game for a long, long time.
Python 5 Images
Derby ARH Missile
The Derby and I-Derby is an ARH version of the Python 4/5, it has a elongated body and a longer burning motor for BVR combat. It is in use with Israel, India, Georgia, the Philippines, Vietnam, Ecuador, Columbia, Brazil, and South Africa.
thank you for reading :)