R-77 (AA-12) Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile
The R-77 (AA-12 Adder) is an active radar-homing, all-aspect, all-weather, medium-range air-to-air missile (MRAAM) developed by the Russian Vympel Design Bureau. The PLAAF received a small number of the Vymple R-77E (AA-12 Adder) MRAAM in 2001 along with the first batch of the Su-30MKK fighter it ordered from Russia. The missile was first test fired in mid-2002, with seven missiles reportedly fired from Su-30MKK fighter for trial and evaluation. Initially the number of the missiles ordered by the PLAAF was reported to be 100, but a later report confirmed that a total of 200 missiles had been delivered.
First introduced in 1982, the R-77 is said to be comparable in general performance to the U.S. AIM-120A/B (AMRAAM), but with a longer range and heavier warhead. With its unique “potato masher” grid-type control surfaces, the missile is claimed to be more manoeuvrable than any other models of MRAAM in the world. The weapon is purported to be able to handle a target manoeuvring at up to 12G, a substantially higher rate than any manned fighter. However, the missile is believed to be inferior to the AIM-120 in missile seeker technology and countermeasure capability.
The R-77 is first true active radar-homing MRAAM developed by the Soviet Union/Russia. While The missile requires that the aircraft radar initially acquire the target and target location upgrades are transmitted to the missile in flight, the last 15km of the flight is guided by the missile’s 9B-1348 active seeker designed by Agat Bureau. The upgraded 9B-1103M extends the active seeker’s range to 25km. This allows the launching aircraft to set up its next shot, manoeuvre defensively or egress the combat area.
The R-77's main superiority compared to the AIM-120B/C is in range and manoeuvrability. The R-77 is bigger than the AIM-120, and carries more powerful propellant. The range of the R-77 is between 50km and 80km depending on the model. The R-77’s unique “potato masher” fins at the rear provides lower drag at supersonic speeds than large fins, and are able to cause the missile to turn much faster at 12G, which is significantly more than most crewed aircraft at 9G. The missile’s speed is limited to Mach 3 due to excessive nose-cone heating.
Launch weight: 175kg
Propellant: Solid fuel rocket motor
Guidance: Inertial + mid-course command + terminal active radar
Warhead: 30kg HE-fragment
Fuse: Laser proximity fuse
Last update: 20 October 2008