Vympel R-77

Vympel R-77

Infobox Weapon
(NATO reporting name: AA-12 Adder)

type=Medium-Range Active-Radar Homing Air-to-Air Missile
service=1994 (R-77)
engine=Solid fuel rocket motor (R-77), air-breathing ramjet (R-77M1)
weight=175 kg (R-77), 226 kg (R-77M1)
length=3.6 m (R-77)
diameter=200 mm
wingspan=350 mm
speed= Mach 4 (R-77)
vehicle_range=R-77: 80 km (55.92MI)
R-77M1: 175 km (108.7MI)
altitude=5m-25 km (16.5-82,000 ft)
filling=30 kg HE, fragmenting
guidance=Inertial with mid-course update and terminal active radar homing
detonation=laser proximity fuze
launch_platform=Mikoyan MiG-21-93/Lance/Bison, Mikoyan MiG-29, Mikoyan MiG-31, Mikoyan MiG-35, Sukhoi Su-27SM, Sukhoi Su-30, Sukhoi Su-34, Sukhoi Su-35, Sukhoi Su-37, Sukhoi Su-47, Yakovlev Yak-141
Future Platforms:
HAL Tejas, Sukhoi PAK FA
The Russian R-77 (RVV-AE) Missile (NATO reporting name: AA-12 Adder) is a medium range, air-to-air, active radar-guided missile system. It is the Russian counterpart to the American AIM-120 AMRAAM missile, thus gaining the nickname "Amraamski". cite web|url=http://www.fas.org/man/dod-101/sys/missile/row/aa-12.htm|title=Federation of American Scientists - "AA-12 ADDER R-77"|accessdate=2006-08-19]


Work on the R-77 began in 1982 and was considered quite significant and secret, since it represented Russia's first fully multi-purpose missile for both tactical and strategic aircraft for fire-and-forget employment against everything from hovering helicopters to high speed, low altitude aircraft. Gennadiy Sokolovski, General Designer of the Vympel Design Bureau, said that the R-77 missile can be used against medium and long range air-to-air missiles such as the AIM-120 AMRAAM and AIM-54 Phoenix, as well as SAMs such as the Patriot. It can also be used against cruise missiles and even precision-guided munitions (PGMs). First seen in 1992 at the MosAeroshow '92, the R-77RVV-AE was immediately nick-named Amraamski by Western journalists. The Russian-language version of the acronym for the weapon is RVV-AE and it is also known as the Izdieliye-170.

Development trials have been completed, and the missile is now entering production for use on aircraft such as the MiG-29, Su-27 and MiG-31. To date, the R-77 can be used by most of the Russian Air force due to the fact that many of their aircraft were upgraded recently. The same is true for the PLAAF of China, who license build the Su-27. The newer Su-30MKK has a N001 (Su-27 radar) with a digital bypass channel incorporating a mode allowing it to use R-77s. Newer Russian aircraft from the MiG-29S (N019M radar) onward are not restricted in this regard.

There are other variants under development. One has an up-rated motor which is intended to boost range at high altitudes to as much as 120-160 km and it is known as the R-77RVV-AE-PD. The 'PD' stands for Povyshenoy Dalnosti, which in Russian means Improved Range. This variant has been test-fired and uses a solid-fuel ramjet engine. Its range puts it in the long-range class and is equivalent to that of the AIM-54 Phoenix. In another version of the R-77, a terminal infra-red homing seeker is offered. The use of IR tracking in the terminal mode might be logical because at extended ranges the data link between the launch fighter and the missile might be interrupted, or the host radar may not detect jamming. It has a laser fuze and an exploding rod warhead that can destroy the variable sized targets from missiles and PGMs to bombers. A product-improvement of the R-77 Adder is in the works, codenamed the R-77M1, and will feature a ramjet propulsion device. This heavier missile system will have a much greater range, and will surely be the primary beyond visual range (BVR) air-to-air weapon in upcoming fifth generation Russian frontline fighters.


The aerodynamics are novel, combining vestigial cruciform wings with tail control surfaces of a lattice configuration (similar devices are used on the R-400 Oka). Each surface consists of a metal frame containing a blade-like grid assembly which combines a greater control area, and thus lifting force, with reduced weight and size. The development for this control concept took three years of theoretical work and testing. Referred to by the Russians as gas dynamic declination devices, these surfaces require less powerful actuators than conventional fins, and have a lower RCS. The flow separation which occurs at high angles of attack enhances its turning ability, giving the missile a maximum turn rate of up to 150º per second.

The missile uses a multi-function doppler-monopulse active radar seeker developed by OAO Agat [cite web|url=http://www.agat.rosprom.org/|title=OAO Agat Website|accessdate=2008-01-11] . The radar features two modes of operation, over short distances, the missile will launch in an active "fire and forget" mode. Over longer distances the missile is controlled by an inertial auto pilot with occasional encoded data link updates from the launch aircraft's radar on changes in spatial position or G of the target. As the missile comes within 20 km (12.42 mi) of its target, the missile switches to its active radar mode. The host radar system maintains computed target information in case the target breaks the missile's lock-on. If the seeker is jammed, it switches automatically to a passive mode and homes on the source of jamming. Fired against high-altitude non-maneuvering targets approaching head-on, the R-77RVV-AE has a range of 100 km, with the seeker locking on at around 20 km, and a maximum speed of Mach 4. At short range, it can engage targets maneuvering at up to 12g. The basic version of this missile is said to have a maximum range of 90 km (55 mi). The missile can also be used from internal carriages where the control fins and surfaces will fold flat until it is catapulted clear of the aircraft for motor ignition.

Comparison with AIM-120 AMRAAM


The R-77's main advantage over the AIM-120 AMRAAM is in range and maneuverability. The longer range is because the R-77 is a larger 200 mm vs 178 mm (8 vs 7 in), heavier 175 vs 150 kg (386 vs 335 lb) missile than the AMRAAM and contains more propellant. Like most AAM weapons, the claimed range is for a non-maneuvering target, at a high altitude, and probably on a head on aspect with a respectable closing rate. Lower altitudes, rear aspect, or maneuvering targets will all reduce this range, but the same applies to the AMRAAM.

The planned upgrade of the AIM-120, the AIM-120D, is to have a much greater (+50%) range and thus no-escape zone which will exceed that of the standard R-77 by a large margin. It is unknown how the AIM-120D will compare to the R-77M design in terms of range.


The missile's maneuverability relies on the lattice work fins at the rear. The R-77's aerodynamic configuration is claimed to provide superior maneuverability than the conventional deltas used on for example the AIM-120, [cite web|url=http://aeroweb.lucia.it/~agretch/RAFAQ/AAMs.html|title=Russian Aviation Page: Russian Air-to-Air missiles. New Case of Missile Gap?|accessdate=2006-08-19] . The weapon is reported to be able to handle a target maneuvering at up to 12"g", [cite web|url=http://www.saunalahti.fi/~fta/ruaf-ap5.htm|title=Russian Air Force, Appendix 5: DATA CONCERNING RUSSIAN AIR-TO-AIR MISSILES|accessdate=2006-08-19] a substantially higher rate than any manned fighter.


ee also

*List of missiles
*MBDA Meteor

External links

* [http://www.fas.org/man/dod-101/sys/missile/row/aa-12.htm Federation of American Scientists page]
* [http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/russia/aa-12-specs.htm GlobalSecurity.org page]
* [http://www.saunalahti.fi/~fta/ruaf-ap5.htm DATA CONCERNING RUSSIAN AIR-TO-AIR MISSILES]
* http://www.avia.ru
* http://www.sukhoi.org

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