Novator K-100

Novator K-100
KS-172 NTW - 94.jpg
Mockup of KS–172 in front of Su-30 in 1994
Type air-to-air missile
Place of origin Russia & India
Production history
Manufacturer NPO Novator & DRDO
Weight 748 kg (1,650 lb) (KS–172)[1]
Length 6.01 m (19.7 ft) + 1.4 m (4.6 ft) (KS–172)[1]
Diameter 40 cm (16 in) (KS–172)[1]

Warhead HE fragmentation (KS–172)[1]
Warhead weight 50 kg (110 lb)

Engine Solid-propellant tandem rocket booster (KS–172)[1]
Wingspan 61 cm (24 in) (KS–172)[1]
At least 200km,[2] possibly 300–400 km (160-210 nmi)
Flight altitude 3 m (9.8 ft)–30,000 m (98,000 ft) (KS–172)[1]
Speed "up to" 4,000 km/h (2,500 mph) (KS–172)[1]
inertial navigation with midcourse guidance and active radar for terminal homing (KS–172)[1]
Su-27, Su-30, Su-35,[3] Su-30MKI[1]

The Novator K-100 is a Russian air-to-air missile designed as an "AWACS killer"[4] at ranges up to 200km. The missile has had various names during its troubled history, including Izdeliye 172 ('Article 172'), AAM-L (RVV-L), KS–172, KS-1, 172S-1 and R-172. The airframe appears to have been derived from the 9K37 Buk surface-to-air missile (SAM) but development stalled in the mid-1990s for lack of funds.[4] It appears to have restarted in 2004 after a deal with India, who wants to produce the missile in India for their Su-30MKI fighters.



Modern airforces have become dependent on airborne radars typically carried by converted airliners and transport aircraft such as the E-3 Sentry and A-50 'Mainstay'. They also depend on similar aircraft for inflight refuelling (e.g. Vickers VC10), maritime patrol (e.g. CP-140 Aurora), reconnaissance and electronic warfare (e.g. Tu-16 'Badger' E & J) and C4ISTAR (e.g. VC-25 "Air Force One"). The loss of just one of these aircraft can have a significant effect on fighting capability, and they are usually heavily defended by fighter escorts. A long-range air-to-air missile offers the prospect of bringing down the target without having to fight a way through the fighter screen. Given the potential importance of "blinding" Western AWACS, Russia has devoted considerable resources to this area. The Vympel R-37 (AA-13 'Arrow') is an evolution of their R-33 (AA-9 'Amos') with a range of up to 400 km (220 nmi), and there have been persistent rumours - if little hard evidence - of an air-to-air missile with a range of 200 km (110 nmi) based on Zvezda's Kh-31 anti-radar/anti-shipping missile or its Chinese derivative, the YJ-91.

NPO Novator started work in 1991 on a very long-range air-to-air missile with the Russian project designation Izdeliye 172.[3] Initially called the AAM-L (RVV-L), it made its first public appearance at the International Defence Exhibition in Abu Dhabi in early 1993,[5] followed by the Moscow Air Show later that year.[3] It was described as having a range of 400 km (220 nmi); the mockup on display had a strong resemblance to the 9K37M1 Buk-M (SA-11 'Gadfly'). Apparently some flight-testing was done on a Su-27, but it appears that the Russians withdrew funding for the project soon afterwards.

The missile resurfaced as the KS–172 in 1999,[5] as part of a new export-led strategy[6] whereby foreign investment in a 300 km (160 nmi)-range export model[5] would ultimately fund a version for the Russian airforce.[6] Again it appears that there were no takers.

In late 2003, the missile was offered again on the export market as the 172S-1.[3] In March 2004, India was reported to have invested in the project and to be "negotiating a partnership" to develop the "R-172"[7]. In May 2005 the Indians were said to have finalised "an arrangement to fund final development and licence produce the weapon" in a joint venture similar to that which produced the successful BrahMos cruise missile.[8] Since then the missile has had a higher profile, appearing at the 2005 Moscow Air Show[3] on a Su-30 as the K-172,[4] and a modified version being shown at the 2007 Moscow Air Show designated as the K-100-1. This name first appeared in a Sukhoi document in 2006,[3] and sources such as Jane's now refer to the missile as the K-100.[3]


The mockup shown in 1993 had a strong resemblance to the Buk airframe, but since the Indians became involved there have been some changes. An Indian magazine gave the specifications of the KS–172 in April 2004 as a core 6.01m long and 40 cm in diameter with a wingspan of 61 cm, with a booster of 1.4m, and 748 kg total weight.[1] It had a solid fuel tandem rocket booster capable of speeds up to 4,000 km/h (2,500 mph), 12g manoevring, and an adaptive HE fragmentation warhead.[1] Development would concentrate on the seeker head, autopilot, resistance to jamming and a steering system with 3D thrust vector control (TVC).[1]

In May 2005 it was reported that there were two versions, with and without a rocket booster, with ranges of 400 km and 300 km respectively.[8] At the MAKS airshow in August 2005, a range of 300 km was quoted for a streamlined missile with a small booster and fins on both booster and fuselage.[4] However the model shown at the 2007 MAKS airshow under the name K-100 was closer to the original 1993 mockup in the photo above, with different-shaped fins that were further up the fuselage, and an even larger booster with TVC vents.[9] At the same show it was shown under the wing of a Su-35BM, implying that at least two could be carried by Flanker-class aircraft rather than just one on the centreline.

Guidance is by inertial navigation until the missile is close enough to the target to use active radar for terminal homing.[1] The K-100 has an enlarged (350 mm (14 in)) derivative of the Agat 9B-1103M seeker used in the Vympel R-27 (AA-10 'Alamo').[2] It has a lock-on range of 40 km (22 nmi), described by an Agat designer as "one fifth or less of the overall range".[2]

Operational history

As India is the main investor in the K-100, it would first see service on her Su-30MKI aircraft. Russia might be a customer, depending on funding. No in-service date has yet been suggested.

Similar weapons

  • Vympel R-37 (AA-X-13/AA-13 'Arrow') was developed from the Vympel R-33 (AA-9 'Amos') and is intended for the Sukhoi Su-35 Flanker-E, Su-37 Flanker-F, MiG 1.42 MFI and other future fighters.[8] According to Defence Today the range depends on the flight profile, from 80 nautical miles (150 km) for a direct shot[8] to 215 nautical miles (398 km) for a cruise glide profile.[8] Jane's reports two variants, the R-37 and the R-37M; the latter has a jettisonable rocket booster that increases the range to "300-400km" (160–220nmi).[3] Work on the missile appears to have restarted in late 2006,[3] as part of the MiG-31BM programme[3] to update the Foxhound with a new radar and ground attack capability.
  • Kh-31 (AS-17 'Krypton') - the Chinese have licensed the anti-radar version (Kh-31P) of this Russian air-to-surface missile, and may be working on an "AWACS killer" variant of their YJ-91 derivative.[8] The Russians claim the anti-shipping version, the Kh-31A, can be adapted for use as an AWACS killer.[8]
  • AIM-54 Phoenix - Now retired, a 100 nautical miles (190 km)-range missile that was carried by the US Navy's F-14 Tomcat.

Notes and references

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n "India Starts Defence Exports : Joint Ventures Now yielding rich Dividends", FORCE magazine (Arun Vihar, India) 1 (6): p55, April 2004 
  2. ^ a b c Johnson, Reuben F (2007-07-11), "Russia develops K-100-1 for Su-35", Jane's Defence Weekly 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "K-100 (Izdeliye 172, KS–172, AAM-L)" ([dead link]), Jane's Air-Launched Weapons, 2009-01-12, 
  4. ^ a b c d Fisher, Richard (2005-09-12), Chinese Dimensions of the 2005 Moscow Aerospace Show, International Assessment and Strategy Center,, retrieved 2009-01-29 
  5. ^ a b c Saradzhyan, Simon; Barrie, Douglas (1999-08-16), "Russia Offers Extended Range Missile For Export", Defense News: p8 
  6. ^ a b Battilega et al. (2000), Transformations in Global Defense Markets and Industries: Implications for the Future of Warfare - Russia, National Intelligence Council, p. 12,, retrieved 2009-01-29 
  7. ^ PTI (2004-03-02), India, Russia in talks for a new missile, Times of India,, retrieved 2009-01-29 
  8. ^ a b c d e f g "Missiles in the Asia Pacific", Defence Today (Amberley, Queensland: Strike Publications): p67, May 2005, 
  9. ^ See photos in "External links" section

External links

  • - unofficial site with photos from MAKS air show; photos 10,12 and 13 show the K-100 on the ground of which maks2007d1013.jpg is perhaps the best.

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