R-33 (missile)

Last updated
R-33
AA-9 Amos
MiG-31 gear and R-33.jpg
R-33 on MiG-31 at Zhukovski, 1999
TypeHeavy air-to-air missile
Specifications
Mass490 kg (1,080 lb)
Length4.14 m (13 ft 7 in)
Diameter380 mm (15 in)
Warhead47.5 kg (105 lb)

Wingspan1.12 m (3 ft 8 in)
Operational
range
120 km (1981), 160 km (1999), [1] [2] 304 km (2012). [3]
Maximum speed Mach 4.5 - 6 (R-37) [1]
Guidance
system
inertial and semi-active radar homing; terminal active radar homing (R-33S) [4]

The R-33 (Russian : Вымпел Р-33, NATO reporting name: AA-9 Amos) is a long-range air-to-air missile developed by Vympel. It is the primary armament of the MiG-31 interceptor, intended to attack large high-speed targets such as the SR-71 Blackbird, the B-1 Lancer bomber, and the B-52 Stratofortress.

Contents

It uses a combination of semi-active radar homing for initial acquisition and mid-course updates, and inertial navigation to reach the target at extreme range. The Zaslon phased array radar of MiG-31 allows four missiles to be guided simultaneously at separate targets.

The R-33 AAM remains in service with the CIS and Russian forces (See MiG-31 operators).

Development

The history of the R-33 missile is tightly bound to the story of its launcher, the MiG-31. The development of the modernized MiG-25, E-155MP, was authorized by a governmental decision of 24 May 1968. There was a competition for future missiles for the E-155MP. Izdeliye 410 by "Vympel" of A.L.Lyapin won, while the K-50 by PKPK of M.R.Bisnovat lost. The missile was assigned the development name K-33, continuing the series of K-13 and K-23 missiles. The development was headed by vice-chief designer V.V.Zhuravlev and leading designer Y.K.Zakharov.

The R-33/MiG-31 missile/interceptor combination is similar to the earlier Bisnovat R-40/MiG-25 combination, although it is much more versatile and modern in that the MiG-25 was very heavily specialized for the interception of large supersonic targets such as the cancelled North American XB-70 Valkyrie bomber, and thus lacks maneuverability and is not suitable for air combat maneuvering. The MiG-31 is a much more versatile and capable aircraft and is still able to employ the older R-40.

Two prototypes were built in 1968, featuring nose-mounted manoeuvring fins and intended for carriage on underwing pylons, similar to the Bisnovat R-40 on board the MiG-25.

The draft project was completed in 1970 and progressed to testing using testbed aircraft. One of these was a converted early-production MiG-25 (aircraft P-10), and was used in 1972 for autonomous test launches from the upgraded APU-40 pylon. A MiG-21 (serial 76211524) was converted into the LL-21 testbed to test the missile seekers, while a Tu-104 jetliner (serial 42324) was converted into LL-104-518 (also known as LL-2) by NTK "Vzlet" to test the MFBU-410/"Zaslon" radar along with missile homing heads mounted on GVM-410 mockups. The space on board the passenger aircraft-based testbed allowed for the carriage of extensive diagnostic and support equipment.

The K-33 was evaluated with the RGS-33 SARH seeker and the TGS-33 IR seeker. Other candidates included active radar homing and dual IR/radar homing seekers. The final decision was made in favor of semi-active radar homing with an inertial initial stage. The homing device, designated MFBU-410 was developed by B.I.Ermakov under the supervision of Akopyan.

The missile design was significantly altered later in 1972. The seeker and warhead were enlarged, the span of the control fins was reduced from 1100 mm to 900 mm. Further, the mounting system was revised to include new under-fuselage slipper pylons, akin to the Phoenix mount on the American F-14, and the missile was reoriented, so it mounted with the fins cruciform rather than diagonal; the fins on the mounting (dorsal) side were made to fold to the side, to lie flush against the belly of the carrying aircraft. Consequently, the missile launch method also needed to be changed. Rather than launching directly from the mounting pylon, the redesigned missile used drop-launch, with the missile being jettisoned from the pylon on launch, and its rocket motor igniting on a time-delay.

A small run of one dummy (for launch system testing), 5 'programmed' (guidance and propulsion only, no warhead) and 8 fully functional trial missiles were built to the new design before the end of 1972. Of those 14, three were launched from the MiG-25P-10 testbed in 1973. Different warhead types (high explosive fragmentation and continuous-rod warhead) were evaluated, and tests of the radar and seeker systems were conducted on the LL-2. 1974 saw 11 more test launches from the MiG-25P-10, and the production of another 40 trial missiles. The first AKU-33 launchers and B-410 warheads were built. "Zaslon" tests continued at Akhtubinsk using the LL-2.

The first flight of the future MiG-31 (aircraft No.831) took place on 16 September 1975, with 12 more flights by the end of the year. The MiG-25P-10 testbed launched 20 more test missiles before being sent for its launchers to be upgraded, and the first telemetric missile launches from the LL-2 were carried out that year.

Development continued in 1976, including launches at PRM-2 parachute targets in April. Factory tests were completed in 1977 with 32 launches from the MiG-31 prototype, the first launch being against a MiG-17 drone on 26 March 1977). The guidance systems were improved during 1978, and the radar/missile combination performed a simultaneous launch at 4 targets in August.

State trials started in March 1979 using MiG-31 No.83210. They were successfully completed in 1980. A government decision on 6 May 1981 recommended R-33 into service.

R-37

Variants

[5]

R-33R-33SR-33E
Maximum launch range, km120160160
Maximum flight speed, Mach4,54,5
Length, mm42504150
Maximum diameter of the missile body, mm380380
Wingspan, mm900900
Rudders span, mm11801180
Launch mass, kg491490
Warhead mass, kg5547
Maximum overload of targets hit8g
Maximum speed of the target, km / h3700
R-33
Standard type.
R-33S
Improved version.
R-33E
Export version.
R-37 Developed version.

Related Research Articles

AIM-7 Sparrow Medium-range, semi-active radar homing air-to-air missile

The AIM-7 Sparrow is an American, medium-range semi-active radar homing air-to-air missile operated by the United States Air Force, United States Navy, and United States Marine Corps, as well as other various air forces and navies. Sparrow and its derivatives were the West's principal beyond visual range (BVR) air-to-air missile from the late 1950s until the 1990s. It remains in service, although it is being phased out in aviation applications in favor of the more advanced AIM-120 AMRAAM.

Mikoyan MiG-31 Interceptor aircraft

The Mikoyan MiG-31 is a supersonic interceptor aircraft that was developed for use by the Soviet Air Forces. The aircraft was designed by the Mikoyan design bureau as a replacement for the earlier MiG-25 "Foxbat"; the MiG-31 is based on and shares design elements with the MiG-25. The MiG-31 is among the fastest combat jets in the world. It continues to be operated by the Russian Air Force and the Kazakhstan Air Force following the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. The Russian Defence Ministry expects the MiG-31 to remain in service until 2030 or beyond and was confirmed in 2020 when an announcement was made to extend the service lifetime from 2,500 to 3,500 hours on the existing airframes.

Air-to-air missile Missile fired from the air at airborne targets

An air-to-air missile (AAM) is a missile fired from an aircraft for the purpose of destroying another aircraft. AAMs are typically powered by one or more rocket motors, usually solid fueled but sometimes liquid fueled. Ramjet engines, as used on the Meteor, are emerging as propulsion that will enable future medium-range missiles to maintain higher average speed across their engagement envelope.

Semi-active radar homing (SARH) is a common type of missile guidance system, perhaps the most common type for longer-range air-to-air and surface-to-air missile systems. The name refers to the fact that the missile itself is only a passive detector of a radar signal—provided by an external ("offboard") source—as it reflects off the target. Semi-active missile systems use bistatic continuous-wave radar.

R-77 Medium-range, active radar homing air-to-air BVR missile

The Vympel NPO R-77 missile is a Russian active radar homing beyond-visual-range air-to-air missile. It is also known by its export designation RVV-AE. It is the Russian counterpart to the American AIM-120 AMRAAM missile.

de Havilland Firestreak Air-to-air missile

The de Havilland Firestreak is a British first-generation, passive infrared homing air-to-air missile. It was developed by de Havilland Propellers in the early 1950s and was the first such weapon to enter active service with the Royal Air Force (RAF) and Fleet Air Arm, equipping the English Electric Lightning, de Havilland Sea Vixen and Gloster Javelin. It was a rear-aspect, fire and forget pursuit weapon, with a field of attack of 20 degrees either side of the target.

Tupolev Tu-28 Soviet interceptor aircraft

The Tupolev Tu-28 was a long-range interceptor aircraft introduced by the Soviet Union in the 1960s. The official designation was Tu-128, but this designation was less commonly used in the West. It was the largest and heaviest fighter ever in service.

The MolniyaR-60 is a short-range lightweight infrared homing air-to-air missile designed for use by Soviet fighter aircraft. It has been widely exported, and remains in service with the CIS and many other nations.

AIM-4 Falcon A US guided air-to-air missile

The Hughes AIM-4 Falcon was the first operational guided air-to-air missile of the United States Air Force. Development began in 1946; the weapon was first tested in 1949. The missile entered service with the USAF in 1956.

R-4 (missile) Heavy air-to-air missile

The BisnovatR-4 was an early Soviet long-range air-to-air missile. It was used primarily as the sole weapon of the Tupolev Tu-128 interceptor, matching its RP-S Smerch ('Tornado') radar.

R-40 (missile) Air-to-air missile developed by the Soviet Union

The BisnovatR-40 is a long-range air-to-air missile developed in the 1960s by the Soviet Union specifically for the MiG-25P interceptor, but can also be carried by the later MiG-31. It is the largest air-to-air missile in the world to ever go into production.

R-73 (missile) Air-to-air missile

The R-73 is a short-range air-to-air missile developed by Vympel NPO that entered service in 1984.

R-23 (missile) Medium air-to-air missile

The Vympel R-23 is a medium-range air-to-air missile developed by Vympel in the Soviet Union for fighter aircraft. An updated version with greater range, the R-24, replaced it in service. It is comparable to the American AIM-7 Sparrow, both in terms of overall performance as well as role.

R-27 (air-to-air missile) Air-to-air missile

The Vympel R-27 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.

A beyond-visual-range missile (BVR) is an air-to-air missile (BVRAAM) that is capable of engaging at ranges of 20 nmi (37 km) or beyond. This range has been achieved using dual pulse rocket motors or booster rocket motor and ramjet sustainer motor.

MIM-72 Chaparral Mobile SAM system

The MIM-72A/M48 Chaparral is an American self-propelled surface-to-air missile system based on the AIM-9 Sidewinder air-to-air missile system. The launcher is based on the M113 family of vehicles. It entered service with the United States Army in 1969 and was phased out between 1990 and 1998. It was intended to be used along with the M163 VADS, the Vulcan ADS covering short-range short-time engagements, and the Chaparral for longer range use.

RIM-8 Talos Surface-to-air missile

The Bendix RIM-8 Talos was a long-range naval surface-to-air missile, and was among the earliest surface-to-air missiles to equip United States Navy ships. The Talos used radar beam riding for guidance to the vicinity of its target, and semiactive radar homing (SARH) for terminal guidance. The array of four antenna which surround the nose are SARH receivers which functioned as a continuous wave interferometer. Initial thrust was provided by a solid rocket booster for launch and a Bendix ramjet for flight to the target with the warhead serving as the ramjet's compressor.

Umkhonto (missile) Surface-to-air missile

The Umkhonto is a South African family of modern short- to medium-range, all-weather-capable vertical launch (VLS) surface-to-air missiles (SAM) manufactured by South Africa's Denel Dynamics. The missile and associated subsystems are supplied as a missile group for easy integration into naval combat suites or ground-based air defence systems.

The Kh-29 is a Soviet air-to-surface missile with a range of 10–30 km. It has a large warhead of 320 kg, has a choice of laser, infrared, active radar or TV guidance, and is typically carried by tactical aircraft such as the Su-24, Su-30, MiG-29K as well as the "T/TM" models of the Su-25, giving that craft an expanded standoff capability.

AAM-N-10 Eagle Long-range Air-to-air missile

The AAM-N-10 Eagle was a long-range air-to-air missile developed by the Bendix Corporation for use by the United States Navy. Intended for carriage by the Douglas F6D Missileer fleet defense fighter, the Eagle program was cancelled before testing could begin, but the lessons learned were used in the development of the AIM-54 Phoenix missile.

References

  1. 1 2 "AA-9 AMOS".
  2. "УР Р-33". Archived from the original on 27 October 2014.
  3. "МиГ-31БМ получат новую ракету".
  4. "R-33E". Deagel. Retrieved 29 January 2015.
  5. "Управляемая ракета большой дальности Р-33 (К-33) | Ракетная техника". rbase.new-factoria.ru. Retrieved 1 December 2016.

Sources