Air Weapons: January 26, 2003


: Russia has been aggressively marketing its R77 (AA-12 Adder) medium-range air-to-air missile, their answer to the American AIM-120 AMRAAM. Three new versions have been offered for export sales to supplement the basic active-radar homing R77A. These are:

@ R77T, an infra-red (heat-seeking) version. This is thought to use the new Ukrainian MM-2000 seeker although the Russians and Ukrainians are being deliberately vague on this point. This missile could, perhaps, be more useful against stealth aircraft and for "sneak attacks" on an aircraft that does not know it has been targeted. The datalink systems associated with the R77 would allow an aircraft to fire this missile at a target it cannot see or track by pointing it in a direction provided by another aircraft or ground radar. The Russians have traditionally built both radar and infrared versions of the same missile, simplifying spare parts and providing fighter pilots with options in dealing with difficult targets. For example, Russian medium-range tactics call for launching both types of missiles simultaneously to complicate the target's defenses or evasive maneuvers.

@ R77P is a passive-radar missile, designed to be cheaper and pick up radar energy produced by the target. Only the Russians are known to use anti-radiation missiles in the air-to-air role, originally to engage AWACS planes at long ranges. The US is thought to have a secret anti-radiation version if the AIM-120 AMRAAM for similar uses.

@ R77G is a ground-launched version designed to replace the missiles used by the mobile SA-6 system. This uses two solid-fuel boosters which are (basically) R73 (AA-11 Archer) short-range missiles without the heat-seeking warheads. --Stephen V Cole


Article Archive

Air Weapons: Current 2021 2020 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 1999 



Help Keep Us Soaring

We need your help! Our subscription base has slowly been dwindling. We need your help in reversing that trend. We would like to add 20 new subscribers this month.

Each month we count on your subscriptions or contributions. You can support us in the following ways:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage. A contribution is not a donation that you can deduct at tax time, but a form of crowdfunding. We store none of your information when you contribute..
Subscribe   Contribute   Close