Munitions / Air to air missiles / R-73

R-73

General Facts

  • TYPE
    Air to air missile

  • ORIGIN
    USSR

  • NICKNAMES
    AA-11 Archer (NATO designation)

  • DESIGNED
    1973 - 1981

  • DESIGNER
    Vympel

  • PRODUCTION
    1982 - ? (R-73)
    1997 - present (R-73M)

  • PRODUCERS
    Russia - Vympel
    USSR - Vympel

  • QUANTITY
    Unknown

  • UNIT COST
    Unknown

  • CHARACTERISTICS
    Very agile missile
    Very good seeker
    Large warheard
    Very short minimum range
    All aspect capability

Introduction

The R-73 is a modern short range air to air missile of Soviet origin. In the West it is better known under the NATO reporting name AA-11 Archer. The R-73 is a further development of the successful R-60 (AA-8). The R-73 addresses the drawbacks of a limited range, small warhead and no all aspect capability while retaining all trend setting features of the R-60. This makes the R-73 a unique missile that was unmatched for many years, prompting the design of various Western alternatives.

Layout

The R-73 can be considered an elongated and larger version of the R-60. The overall design remains similar, but the larger body allows for a larger and more capable seeker, larger warhead and more rocket fuel. The nose section has been rearranged to allow for a high off boresight capability.

Guidance

The R-73 uses an advanced infrared seeker with a high off boresight capability. The seeker is much improved over the version used in the older R-60 and is much harder to distract by flares. The R-73M uses an even more capable seeker with further improved IRCCM

Firepower

The R-73 retains the high level of maneuverability of the R-60, but has a much longer range. Under favorable conditions the maximum range is 20 km with 30 and 40 km models having been developed. The effective range in a generic combat situation is much shorter than these figures. The R-73 also has a very short minimum engagement range of 300 m, making it very suitable in dog fight situations.

Platforms

The R-73 can be used on numerous Soviet fighter aircraft. It is mainly used on the MiG-29, Su-27, Su-34, Su-35 and MiG-31. It can also be used on late model or upgraded versions of older aircraft such as the MiG-21, MiG-23, Su-25, Su-24. Additionally helicopters such as the Mi-24, Mi-28 and Ka-50 may use the R-73, as well as a number of foreign aircraft.

Users

The R-73 is one of the most common contemporary short range air to air missiles in the world. It is the standard missile in Russian service and has been exported to many nations in Eastern Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Africa. In many cases the R-73 is used alongside the R-60 missile it has been derived from.

Variants

No variants

Use

 
Algeria
Bangladesh
Belarus
Brunei
Bulgaria
Cameroon
China

Cuba
Czech Republic
Egypt
Eritrea
Ethiopia
Georgia
Germany

Hungary
India
Indonesia
Iran
Iraq
Kazakhstan
Libya

Malaysia
Moldova
Myanmar
North Korea
Peru
Poland
Romania

Russia
Serbia
Slovakia
Sudan
Syria
Turkmenistan
Uganda

Ukraine
USSR (former)
Uzbekistan
Venezuela
Vietnam
Yemen
Yugoslavia (former)

R-60 (AA-8 Aphid)

The R-73 is a further development of the older R-60 missile and looks rather similar.