Vympel R-73Vympel R-73
Type Short-range Air to Air Missile Service history In service 1985 Production history Manufacturer Vympel NPOSpecifications Weight 105 kg (231 lb) Length 2900 mm (9 ft 6 in) Diameter 170 mm (6.7 in) Warhead 7.4 kg (16.3 lb) Engine solid-fuel rocket engine
Wingspan 510 mm (20 in) Operational
range 30 km (18.75 mi) Speed Mach 2.5Guidance
system infrared homingLaunch
- MiG-21, MiG-23, MiG-29
- Sukhoi Su-24, Su-25, Su-27, Su-35
- Mil Mi-24, Mil Mi-28, Kamov Ka-50
- HAL Tejas
The R-73 is an infrared-guided (heat-seeking) missile with a sensitive, cryogenic cooled seeker with a substantial "off-boresight" capability: the seeker can "see" targets up to 60° off the missile's centerline. It can be targeted by a helmet-mounted sight (HMS) allowing pilots to designate targets by looking at them. Minimum engagement range is about 300 meters, with maximum aerodynamic range of nearly 30 km (18.75 mi) at altitude.
The R-73 is a highly maneuverable missile that in most respects is believed to be superior to the United States AIM-9M Sidewinder. Mock dogfights indicated that the high degree of "off-boresight" capability of the R-73 would make a significant difference in combat. This prompted the development of Sidewinder and other SRM successors like AIM-132 ASRAAM, IRIS-T, MICA IR, Python IV and the latest Sidewinder variant, AIM-9X, that entered squadron service in 2003.
From 1994 the R-73 has been upgraded in production to R-73M standard, which entered CIS service in 1997. The R-73M has greater range and a wider seeker angle (to 60° off-boresight), as well as improved IRCCM (InfraRed Counter-Counter Measures).
The weapon is used by the MiG-29, Su-27, Su-32 and Su-35, and can be carried by newer versions of the MiG-21, MiG-23, Sukhoi Su-24, and Su-25 aircraft. India is looking to use the missile on their HAL Tejas. It can also be carried by Russian attack helicopters, including the Mil Mi-24, Mil Mi-28, and Kamov Ka-50.R-73 before R-77 R-73Ae, R-27R1(AeR1), R-27T1(AeT1), and Kh-59MAe at MACS, Zhukovski, 1999.