K-5 (missile)

Last updated
AA-1 Alkali
K-5M Air-to-Air Missile.jpg
TypeShort-range air-to-air missile
Place of originSoviet Union
Service history
In service1957-1977
Used by Soviet Air Force
Production history
ManufacturerKaliningrad Series Production Plant
Mass82.7 kg (182 lb)
Length2.49 m (8 ft 2 in)
Diameter200 mm (7.9 in)
Warhead High explosive
Warhead weight13 kg (29 lb)

2 to 6 kilometres (1.2 to 3.7  mi)
Maximum speed 2,880 km/h (1,790 mph) (Mach 2.33)
beam riding
MiG-17, MiG-19, MiG-21, Su-9

The Kaliningrad K-5 (NATO reporting name AA-1 Alkali), also known as RS-1U or product ShM, was an early Soviet air-to-air missile.



The development of the K-5 began in 1951. The first test firings were in 1953. It was tested (but not operationally carried) by the Yakovlev Yak-25. The weapon entered service as the Grushin/Tomashevich (Russian : Грушин/Томашевич) RS-2U (also known as the R-5MS or K-5MS) in 1957. The initial version was matched to the RP-2U (Izumrud-2) radar used on the MiG-17PFU, MiG-19PM. An improved variant, K-5M or RS-2US in PVO service, entered production in 1959, matched to the RP-9/RP-9U (Sapfir) radar of the Sukhoi Su-9. The People's Republic of China developed a copy under the designation PL-1, for use by their J-6B fighters.

The difficulties associated with beam-riding guidance, particularly in a single-seat fighter aircraft, were substantial, making the 'Alkali' primarily a short-range anti-bomber missile. Around 1967 the K-5 was replaced by the K-55 (R-55 in service), which replaced the beam-riding seeker with the semi-active radar homing or infrared seekers of the K-13 (AA-2 'Atoll'). The weapon was 7.8 kg (17 lb) heavier than the K-5, but had a smaller 9.1 kg (20 lb) warhead. The K-55 remained in service through about 1977, probably being retired with the last of the Sukhoi Su-9 interceptors.

Specifications (RS-2US / K-5MS)


Map with former K-5 operators in red K-5 operators.png
Map with former K-5 operators in red

Former operators

Flag of the Soviet Union.svg  Soviet Union
Both the Soviet Air Force (VVS) and the Soviet Air Defence Forces (PVO) operated the K-5.
Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg  China
The People's Liberation Army Air Force operated licensed Chinese copy of Kaliningrad K-5 designated as PL-1 (PL: short for Pi Li or Pili, meaning thunderbolt).
Flag of the Czech Republic.svg  Czechoslovakia
The Czechoslovakian Air Force operated RS-2U and RS-2US.
Flag of Hungary.svg  Hungary
The Hungarian Air Force operated RS-2US on MiG-19PMs, MiG–21PFs and MiG–21MFs.
Flag of Poland.svg  Poland
The Polish Air Force operated RS-2US on MiG-19PMs and MiG-21s, still in use as practice target. [1]
Flag of Romania.svg  Romania
Locally produced A-90 copy by Electromecanica Ploiesti (1984)

See also

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