R-37 (missile)

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AA-13 Axehead
MAKS Airshow 2013 (Ramenskoye Airport, Russia) (524-21).jpg
R-37M at 2013 MAKS Airshow
TypeAir-to-air missile
Place of originRussia
Service history
In service2019
Used byRussian Federation Air Force (RFAF)
Production history
DesignerTactical Missiles Corporation
ManufacturerTactical Missiles Corporation
Mass600 kilograms (1,320 lb)
Length4.20 metres (13 ft 9 in)
Diameter38 centimetres (15 in)
WarheadHE, fragmenting
Warhead weight60 kg (135 lb)

Wingspan0.7 m (2 ft 4 in)
PropellantBoost-Sustain Solid Rocket
150-398 km [1]
Maximum speed Mach 5 (6,125 km/h; 3,806 mph)
Inertial with mid-course update, semi-active and active radar homing

The Vympel R-37M (NATO reporting name: AA-X-13/AA-13 Axehead)[2] is a Russian supersonic air-to-air missile with very long range. The missile and its variants also had the names K-37, izdeliye 610 and R-VD (Ракета Высокой Дальности (Raketa-Vysokoy Dalnosty), "Very Long Range Missile"), and the NATO codenames 'Axehead' and 'Andi'.[3] It was developed from the R-33.

It was designed to shoot down tankers, AWACS and other C4ISTAR aircraft[2] whilst keeping the launch platform out of range of any fighters that might be protecting the target.


The missile was designed in the early 1980s and first flown in 1989.[3] Testing of the R-37 continued through the 1990s,[3] and in 1994, a trial round scored a kill at a range of 162 nautical miles (300 km).[2] However, the program appears to have been dropped around 1998 on grounds of cost.[3]

Work on the missile appears to have restarted in late 2006,[3] as part of the MiG-31BM program to update the Foxhound with a new radar and ground attack capability.[3]

In 2018, the R-37M had finished its operational validation tests.[4][5]


The R-37 is now in production to equip upgraded Russian MiG-31BM interceptors. Despite the early intent to integrate the weapon on the Flanker family, this has yet to be reported.[6]


The R-37 was developed from the R-33. For compatibility with aircraft that did not have the MiG-31's sophisticated radar, the semi-active seeker was replaced with a variant of the Agat 9B-1388 active seeker;[2] mid-body strakes enhance lift[2] and hence range, and folding tail controls allow semi-conformal carriage[2] on planes that are not as big as the MiG-31. According to Defence Today, the range depends on the flight profile, from 80 nautical miles (150 km) for a direct shot[2] to 215 nautical miles (398 km) for a cruise glide profile.[2] According to Jane's there are two variants, the R-37 and the R-37M; the latter has a jettisonable rocket booster that increases the range to "300-400km" (160–220 nm).[3]

The R-37M designation has since been used for a modernized variant of the missile, also known as RVV-BD (Raketa Vozduh-Vozduh Bolyshoy Dalnosty, English for Long-Range Air-to-Air Missile). R-37M is hypersonic and has range exceeding 300km.[7] It will be carried by the modernized MiG-31BM interceptors and Su-35S and Su-57 multirole fighters.[8][9] It is not known if the long range air-to-air missile for the Su-57, designated as Izdeliye 810, is a derivative of the R-37M.

The missile can attack targets ranging in altitude between 15–25,000 meters. Missiles can be guided semi-actively or actively through Agat 9B-1388 system.[10]

Similar weapons[edit]


  1. ^ http://www.ausairpower.net/SP/DT-Missile-Survey-May-05.pdf
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h "Missiles in the Asia Pacific" (PDF), Defence Today: 67, May 2005, archived from the original (PDF) on 26 January 2009
  3. ^ a b c d e f g "R-37, R-37M (AA-X-13) (Russian Federation), AIR-TO-AIR MISSILES - BEYOND VISUAL RANGE". janes.com. 12 January 2009. Archived from the original on 14 September 2008.
  4. ^ "New Russian long-range AAM integration to expand to four fighter models - Jane's 360". janes.com. 9 July 2018. Archived from the original on 13 July 2018. Retrieved 4 January 2019.
  5. ^ https://www.vpk-news.ru/articles/52503
  6. ^ "Russian Air Force Tests New Air-to-Air Missile". Sputnik (news agency). 24 January 2012. Retrieved 4 January 2019.
  7. ^ "Russia's New R-37M Air-to-Air Missile: Unique and Unmatched — Strategic Culture".
  8. ^ "Russia's New R-37M Air-to-Air Missile: Unique and Unmatched". strategic-culture.org. 15 October 2018. Retrieved 26 August 2019.
  9. ^ "Russia's Su-57 jet gets hypersonic missile that can shoot down enemy aircraft '300km away'". rt.com. 26 September 2018. Retrieved 26 August 2019.
  10. ^ "Управляемая авиационная ракета класса "воздух-воздух" большой дальности РВВ-БД". missile.ru. October 2011. Retrieved 26 August 2019.

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