|Type||Medium-Range Active-Radar Homing Air-to-Air Missile|
|In service||1994 (R-77)|
|Weight||175 kg (R-77), 190 kg (R-77-1)|
|Length||3.6 m (R-77), 3.71 m (R-77-1)|
|Warhead||22.5 kg HE fragmenting (R-77)|
|laser proximity fuze|
|Engine||Solid fuel rocket motor (R-77), air-breathing ramjet (R-77-PD)|
|80 km (R-77), 110 km (R-77-1)|
|Flight altitude||5 m-25 km (16.5-82,000 ft)|
|Inertial with mid-course update and terminal active radar homing|
|Mikoyan MiG-21-93/LanceR/Bison, Mikoyan MiG-29, Mikoyan MiG-31, Mikoyan MiG-35, Sukhoi Su-27SM, Sukhoi Su-30, Sukhoi Su-33, Sukhoi Su-34, Sukhoi Su-35, Sukhoi Su-37, Sukhoi Su-47, Yakovlev Yak-141, J-10B
Sukhoi PAK FA
The Vympel NPO R-77 missile (NATO reporting name: AA-12 Adder) is a Russian medium range, air-to-air, active radar-guided missile system. It is also known by its export model designation RVV-AE. It is the Russian counterpart to the American AIM-120 AMRAAM missile.
Development and design
Work on the R-77 began in 1982. It represented Russia's first multi-purpose missile for both tactical and strategic aircraft for fire-and-forget use against a range of aircraft from hovering helicopters to high speed, low altitude aircraft. Gennadiy Sokolovski, general designer of the Vympel Design Bureau, said that the R-77 missile can be used against medium and long range air-to-air missiles such as the AIM-120 AMRAAM and AIM-54 Phoenix, as well as SAMs such as the Patriot. The weapon has a laser-triggered proximity fuze and an expanding rod warhead that can destroy variable sized targets. It can be used against cruise missiles and precision-guided munitions (PGMs). First seen in 1992 at the Moscow Airshow (MAKS) 1992, the R-77 was immediately nicknamed Amraamski by Western journalists. The basic R-77 is known as the izdeliye 170, while the export variant is known as the izdeliye 190, or RVV-AE. The R-77 and RVV-AE have a range of 80 km.
The R-77 can be used by upgraded Su-27, MiG-29 and MiG-31 variants in Russian Air Force service. Some variants of the Su-27 in China's PLAAF, including the domestically produced J-11 variants, can also employ the missile. The newer Su-30MKK has a N001 (Su-27 radar) with a digital bypass channel incorporating a mode allowing it to use R-77s. The radar-guided R-77 has been sold widely, with China and India placing significant orders for the weapon, as was the case for the R-73. The baseline R-77 was designed in the 1980s, with development complete by around 1994. India was the first export customer for the export variant, known as the RVV-AE, with the final batch delivered in 2002.
There are other variants under development. One has an upgraded motor to boost range at high altitudes to as much as 120–160 km; it is known as the RVV-AE-PD. The 'PD' stands for Povyshenoy Dalnosti, which in Russian means "improved range". This variant has been test-fired and uses a solid-fuel ramjet engine. Its range puts it in the long-range class and is equivalent in range to the AIM-54 Phoenix. In another version of the R-77, a terminal infra-red homing seeker is offered. This is in line with the Russian practice of attacking targets by firing pairs of missiles with different homing systems. This complicates end-game defensive actions for the target aircraft, as it needs to successfully defeat two homing systems. This method of attack may not always be available as IR seekers typically have less range and less resistance to poor weather than radar seekers, which may limit the successful use of mixed seeker attacks unless the IR missile is initially directed by radar or some other means.
Another improvement program was designated the R-77M, which made the missile longer and heavier, making use of a two-stage motor as well as an improved seeker. A further product-improvement of the R-77, designated the R-77M1 and then the R-77-PD, was to feature a ramjet propulsion device. This missile was destined for the MiG 1.44 that for the MFI program. The weapon has a laser fuse and an expanding rod warhead that can destroy the variable sized targets. However, due to funding shortage and eventual cancellation of the MiG 1.44, development of this model may have stopped by 1999; no information or announcement regarding the R-77M and R-77-PD has appeared since.
Vympel did not have adequate funding during the 1990s and the first part of the following decade to support further evolution of the R-77, either for the Russian air force or the export market. The basic version of the R-77 is not thought to have entered the Russian air force inventory in significant numbers.
Tactical Missile Corporation, also known as TRV, unveiled the RVV-SD and RVV-MD missiles for the first time at the Moscow Air Show (MAKS) in August 2009. The RVV-SD is an improved version of the R-77, while the RVV-MD is a variant of the R-73. The RVV-SD includes the upgrades associated with the izdeliye 170-1, or R-77-1. The RVV-SD, along with the RVV-MD, seem to be part of Russia's bid for India's medium multirole combat aircraft competition. Both designations were included by MiG on a presentation covering MiG-35 Fulcrum armament during Aero India Air Show in February. The initial RVV-SD offering is likely no more than a stopgap to try to maintain its position, and to provide a credible radar-guided weapon to offer as part of fighter export packages and upgrade programs.
According to specifications, the R-77-1 and its export variant RVV-SD is 15 kg (33 lb) heavier than the basic R-77 / RVV-AE, weighing 190 kg (420 lb) rather than 175 kg (386 lb). Maximum range is increased to 110 km (68 mi) from 80 km (50 mi). The missile is also slightly longer at 3.71 metres (12.2 ft), rather than the 3.6 metres (11.8 ft) of the basic variant. Additional improvements include upgrades to the missile's radar seeker and boat tail rear section to reduce drag. Russian missile manufacturer Agat previously confirmed it was working on seeker upgrades for the R-77, implying that at least two projects were underway, one for export and one for the Russian air force.
Vympel, a which had merged to be part of TRV, has been developing a more extensive upgrade of the missile than the R-77-1. Designated the izdeliye 180, or K-77M, this missile is a mid-life upgrade for the weapon and is intended to be the main medium-range missile for the Sukhoi PAK FA. This upgrade aims to provide a further improvement in range, with the design including a dual-pulse motor configuration. The izdeliye 180 will use an AESA seeker and conventional rear fins instead of the R-77's lattice fins. This missile is intended to match the performance of the latest AIM-120 variants. Though it uses a similar designation as the earlier R-77M improvement program, it is not known if these two missiles are the same or are related.
The aerodynamics are novel, combining vestigial cruciform wings with grid fins used as tail control surfaces (similar devices are used on the R-400 Oka, and USAF uses them on MOAB). Each surface consists of a metal frame containing a blade-like grid assembly which combines a greater control area, and thus lifting force, with reduced weight and size. The development for this control concept took three years of theoretical work and testing. These surfaces require less powerful actuators than conventional fins, and have a lower RCS. The flow separation which occurs at high angles of attack enhances its turning ability, giving the missile a maximum turn rate of up to 150º per second. However, updated variants of the R-77, such as the izdeliye 180 that is destined for the PAK FA, will use conventional fins instead.
The missile uses a multi-function doppler-monopulse active radar seeker developed by OAO Agat. The radar features two modes of operation, over short distances, the missile will launch in an active "fire and forget" mode. Over longer distances the missile is controlled by an inertial auto pilot with occasional encoded data link updates from the launch aircraft's radar on changes in spatial position or G of the target. As the missile comes within 20 km (12.42 mi) of its target, the missile switches to its active radar mode. The host radar system maintains computed target information in case the target breaks the missile's lock-on.
- R-77 (izdeliye 170) - Standard model.
- R-77P / RVV-PE - Passive homing model.
- R-77T / RVV-TE - Infrared homing model.
- RVV-AE (izdeliye 190) - Export model of the R-77.
- R-77-PD / RVV-AE-PD - Ramjet model. Development stopped in 1999.
- R-77-1 (izdeliye 170-1) - Improved variant with increased range.
- RVV-SD - Export model of the R-77-1.
- K-77M (izdeliye 180) - Highly improved variant for the PAK FA with AESA seeker, conventional fins, and two-pulse motor.
- K-77ME (izdeliye 180-PD) - Ramjet model of the K-77M.
- R-77-SRK - Surface-to-air variant.
- R-77-ZRK - Ship-to-air variant.
- Russia (primary user)
- People's Republic of China
- Vietnam on Sukhoi Su-30MK2V
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