- Russia Completing R-37M Air-to-Air Missile Trials
- Su-30, Su-35, Su-57 Will Carry the Missile
The Russian Defense Ministry is completing the trials of the long-range air-to-air R-37M guided missile. It can hit high-speed air targets at a distance of over 300 km. The new aiming system ensures a precision hit.
It comprises a modern radar of the fighter jet, an onboard inertial complex and a homing warhead of the missile.
Russian fourth and fifth-generation fighter jets will be armed with the new weapon. Experts believe it will considerably enhance the capabilities of fighter aviation, the Izvestia daily writes.
The Russian Defense Ministry told the newspaper final trials of the R-37M missile are ongoing. The weapon is in a high technical readiness state.
It develops previous generation R-37 missile whose design began in the early 1980s. R-37 trials began in 1985 and it was accepted into service four years later. However, it could be carried only by MiG-31 because of the size (over 4-meter long and the launch weight of 600 kg).
R-37M design began in the late 2000s. It was initially planned the missile will be carried only by MiG-31.
But it was later decided to upgrade the weapon and make it fit for multirole fourth-generation Su-30, Su-35, and prospective fifth-generation Su-57. The length and the weight of the missile had to be decreased for that.
R-37M tactical and technical characteristics are not disclosed. Only the basic parameters are known. The design is a normal aerodynamic scheme with a low-aspect wing.
The range exceeds 300 km. The weight is over 500 kg, the high-explosive fragmentation payload weighs 60 kg. The missile is equipped with non-contact active radar and standby contact fuzes.
R-37M can destroy air targets on a head-on course. After receiving coordinates the inertial system aims the missile at the target and thus it is invisible for radars at the midcourse flight.
Active homing warhead activates closer to the target. The adversary can detect its emission but the pilot has only fractions of a second to escape the hit. The missile develops a speed of Mach 6 at the final stage of the flight.
R-37M homing warhead has an advanced high-tech control. It is equipped with a new miniature digital processor with a big memory and increased speed. The warhead is resistant to electronic warfare. Maneuvering will not help the aircraft either as the missile will catch the target even if it maneuvers with an 8g overload.
Long-range guided missiles will increase the combat might of fighter jets over two times, expert Alexey Leonkov believes. “The missiles are designed within the concept to develop armaments that can see and fire longer than the adversary sees. They have to fight aircraft which do not enter the air defense zone and deliver strikes from outside it. It is more efficient to down a carrier rather than a missile,” he told the Izvestia.