The Hindustan Aernautics (HAL) Tejas light combat aircraft has successfully fired the Rafael Derby beyond-visual-range (BVR) missile.

The aircraft released the weapon in "lock-on after launch" mode, and successfully destroyed an aerial target, says India's defence ministry in a statement.

"The objective of the test was to assess the Derby integration with aircraft systems on-board Tejas including the aircraft avionics, fire-control radar, launchers and Missile Weapon Delivery System and to verify its performance," says the ministry.

The test was conducted at a test range near Chandipur on India's east coast.

"The test firing achieved all its planned objectives," says the ministry. "The Derby firing is a major step towards clearing BVR capabilities on LCA aircraft for Final Operational Clearance."

New Delhi is working on FOC tasks for the Tejas Mk1 aircaft. It is also developing improved versions, the Tejas Mk1A, Tejas Mk2, and LCA Navy Mk2.

Initial operation clearance (IOC) for the Tejas Mk1, of which 40 will be acquired, was obtained in December 2013. This is the standard to which Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL) will build the first 20 aircraft.

Nine Mk1 aircraft are to be delivered in 2017, with all 20 airplanes (IOC standard) to be delivered by 2018. The remaining 20 aircraft will be of FOC standard and delivered by 2020. The ramp-up in production is vital to meeting air force requirements for additional fighters.