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14 Dec 05. Indian Air Force is buying unspecified number of Crystal Maze all weather bunker busting missiles from Israel. The price negotiations have been completed and the deal will be signed early next year, said sources in the Indian defense ministry.

The Crystal Maze missile is a 100 kilometers range air to surface missile and is manufactured by Rafael of Israel. The Crystal Maze missile is fired from aircraft from a distance of up to 100 kilometers on bunkers.

The TV-guided missile, has an 80 kg warhead and is rated as highly accurate. The Indian Air Force had carried out trials of the Crystal Maze missile on several occasions and in fact in December 2004, the missile misfired.

However, a series of trials of the missile have now come up to the satisfaction of the Indian Air Force which is buying these missiles from Israel. Fired from a Mirage 2000H fighter, the missile – codenamed Crystal Maze by the IAF – missed its target and exploded 50 meters away, said Indian Air Force officials.

The missile struck the reinforced concrete target accurately, piercing it to a depth of 2 meters, but did not detonate due to an apparent problem with the fuze in the 2004 trial in Pokhran area of Rajasthan desert.

The Indian Navy is also buying 20 Israeli made BVR (Beyond Visual Range) Derby air-to-air missiles (AAMs) which are similar to the U.S. AMRAAM missile. The missiles are to be used by Sea Harriers aboard the aircraft carrier, INS Viraat.

The Derby has a range of up to 50 kilometers and can lock on target before or after launch. The Derby was developed from the Python 4 heat seeking missile, and shares many components with it, including the 24 pound warhead.

The Indian Air Force is also buying 100 air to air Python 4 missiles from Rafael of Israel. These missiles will be used to equip the Mirage 2000 H and the Jaguar aircraft, in addition to the Russian R-73 and AA-11 missiles.

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