R-27 (air-to-air missile)

Last updated

AA-10 Alamo
Mig 29 firing AA-10.JPG
German Air Force MiG-29 firing an R-27
TypeMedium-range, air-to-air BVR missile; anti-radiation missile
Place of origin Soviet Union
Service history
In service1983–present
Wars Iran–Iraq War
Eritrean–Ethiopian War
War in Donbas
Yemeni Civil War (2015–present)
Saudi Arabian-led intervention in Yemen
Production history
Manufacturer Vympel (Russia)
Artem (Ukraine) [1]
Unit costN/A
Mass253 kg (558 lb)
Length4.08 m (13.4 ft)
Diameter230 mm (9.1 in)
Warhead blast/fragmentation, or continuous rod
Warhead weight39 kg (86 lb)
radar-proximity and impact fuzes

EngineHigh performance, w. directed-rocket motor
Solid-fuel rocket motor
Wingspan772 mm (30.4 in)
R-27T: up to 40 km
R-27T1: up to 80 km [2]
R-27ET: up to 120 km
R-27ET1: up to 80 km [3]
R-27R: up to 73 km
R-27R1: up to 75 km [4]
R-27ER: up to 130 km
R-27ER1: up to 100 km [5]
R-27P: up to 80 km
R-27EP: up to 130 km
R-27EA: up to 130 km
R-27EM: up to 170 km [6] [7]
Flight altitudeN/A
Maximum speed Mach 4.5[ citation needed ]
semi-active radar homing (A/C), active-radar-homing (R-27EA), infrared homing (B/D), passive radar (E/F)
Su-27, Su-30, Su-33, Su-34, Su-35, Su-37, F-14 (done by Iran), MiG-23, MiG-29, Yak-141, Su-57, local conversion as a surface-to-air missile in Yemen [8]
R-27 T R-27 T 3D.jpg
R-27 T
R-73Ae, R-27R1(AeR1), R-27T1(AeT1), and Kh-59MAe at MACS, Zhukovski, 1999. R-73E R-27R1 R-27T1 R-59ME.jpg
R-73Ae, R-27R1(AeR1), R-27T1(AeT1), and Kh-59MAe at MACS, Zhukovski, 1999.

The Vympel R-27 (NATO reporting name AA-10 Alamo) is a family of air-to-air missile developed by the Soviet Union. It remains in service with the Russian Air Force, air forces of the Commonwealth of Independent States and air forces of many other countries as standard medium range air-to-air missile even though they have the more advanced R-77.


The R-27 is manufactured in infrared-homing (R-27T, R-27ET), [9] semi-active-radar-homing (R-27R, R-27ER), [10] and active-radar-homing (R-27EA) [11] versions. R-27 family missiles produced by both Russian and Ukrainian manufacturers. The R-27 missile is carried by the Mikoyan MiG-29 and Sukhoi Su-27 family fighters, and some of the later-model MiG-23MLD fighters have also been adapted to carry it. The R-27 missile is also license-produced in China,[ citation needed ] though the production license was bought from Ukraine instead of Russia.


R-27T (Second from bottom) and R-27R (First from bottom) Lipetsk Air Base (437-24).jpg
R-27T (Second from bottom) and R-27R (First from bottom)
9B-1101K, inertial semi-active homing head for R-27R missiles. R-27 missile homing head, Kyiv 2018, 02.jpg
9B-1101K, inertial semi-active homing head for R-27R missiles.

R-27R and ER variants can be used in any meteorological conditions. Launch can made at less than 5 g overload and less 50 deg/s roll rate. [12] It is allowed to redesignate targets during flight, or sharing target illumination with other aircraft.

R-27T and ET variants can be used out of cloudiness, at least 15 degrees away from the bearing of sun, and 4 degrees away from the bearing of moon and ground-based heat-contrasting conditions. In cases of maximum head-on range launches where lock-command cannot be utilised, missile can be fired in PPS: In this mode, missile will fly straight until achieves target lock. As missile lacks capability of maneuvering before lock, aircraft itself must maneuver so that missile will be pointed to no more than 15 degrees bearing of the target for confident capture by the IR seeker after launch. Equalising altitude is recommended but not required. [13] On combat operations section of the Su-27 manual, this mode of usage is especially recommended for head-on usage for passive attacks at targets with 0 degrees approach angle (i.e. another fighter moving to intercept), leaving target unalerted to incoming missile. [14] Launch can be made at 0 to 7 g, but limited to 6 g if roll induced slip is more than 2× diameter of the ball. [12]

Other Variants:

Operational service

Ethiopia and Eritrea

In the 1999 Eritrean-Ethiopian War, Eritrean MiG-29s fought Ethiopian Su-27s both piloted by Russian mercenaries. [15] There were possibly as many as 24 R-27s fired by both sides. Only one R-27 fired by an Ethiopian Su-27 at an Eritrean MiG-29 proximity-fuzed near enough the MiG that the damaged aircraft eventually crashed on landing.


During the War in Donbas, the Ukrainian Air Force claimed that one of its Su-25 was shot down by a Russian Air Force MiG-29 using a R-27T on 16 July 2014. [16] Russian officials denied any involvement. [17]


During the Yemeni Civil War (2015–present) Houthis have used R-27T missiles modified to serve as surface to air missiles. A video released on January 7, 2018 also shows a modified R-27T hitting a Saudi led coalition fighter on a Forward looking infrared camera. Houthi sources claim to have downed a F-15. [18] [19] Rebels later released footage showing an aircraft wreck, however serial numbers on the wreckage suggested that the downed aircraft was a Panavia Tornado, also operated by Saudi forces. [20] On January 8, the Saudi Press Agency admitted the loss of an aircraft over Yemen, though it did not clarify whether it was a Tornado or an F-15, blaming the crash to 'a technical issue' and reporting that the pilots ejected and recovered by friendly forces. [21]

On 21 March 2018, Houthi rebels released a video where they hit and possibly shot down a Saudi F-15 in Saada province. [22] In the video a R-27T air to air missile adapted for surface to air use was launched, appearing to have successfully hit a jet. As in the video of the previous similar hit recorded on 8 January, the target, while clearly hit, did not appear to be downed. Saudi forces confirmed the hit, while saying the jet safely landed at a Saudi base. [23] [24] Saudi official sources confirmed the incident reporting that it happened at 3:48 pm local time after a surface-to-air defense missile was launched at the fighter jet from inside Saada airport. [25] [8]


Map with R-27 operators in blue with former operators in red R-27 operators.png
Map with R-27 operators in blue with former operators in red

Current operators

Former operators

See also

Similar weapons

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