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AA-10 ALAMO R-27

The AA-10 NATO Alamo was first seen carried by the SU-27 Flanker. The AA-10 comes in four variants. The AA-10A and AA-10B are the short-burn (medium-range) infrared and semi-active radar guided variants, respectively, and are standard loads on the MIG-29 and the SU-27. The AA-10C and the AA-10D are the long-burn (long-range) infrared and semi-active guided variants, respectively, carried only on the SU-27. Based on an aerodynamic analysis of the exhaust and control surfaces, the AA-10 may be one of the world's most sophisticated air-to-air missiles.

The R-27 medium-range missile is a component of the MiG-29 armament. In its overall characteristics the R-27R is generally comparable to the the American AIM-7M Sparrow missile, which it is said to surpasse it in certain combat capabilities. The R-27 is designed according to a modular principle and is the base for a family of missiles equipped with various types of homing heads and propulsion systems. Several versions of this missile have been produced in Russia with infrared, semi-active and active radar guidance. The AA-10 Alamo-C has a range of 130 km, while other variants have a maximum range of between 70 to 170 kilometers.

The R-27 standardized medium-range guided missile became operational in 1985, intended for MiG-29 and Su-27 frontal aviation fighters. The R-27 is capable of engaging manned and unmanned targets in long-range and close maneuverable air-to-air combat. It can be employed both in individual as well as group operations of platform aircraft. It supports the intercept of targets moving from different directions against the background of the earth's and water's surface in any weather conditions.

The R-27R is equipped with a semiactive radar homing head. The R-27R is equipped with an active radar proximity fuze and impact fuze and a continuous-rod warhead. It is guided to the target by a combination method according to the proportional navigation method: inertially with radiocorrection of trajectory in the initial flight phase, and homing in the terminal phase. This provides for reliable target lock-on at long ranges from the launching aircraft. The missile can be guided along special trajectories to create favorable conditions for homing head and proximity fuze operation. It is capable of going around a plume of passive jamming, of being moved out of the main lobe of the platform's radar, and of approaching a low-flying target from above at a given angle.

The missile has a canard aerodynamic configuration with an axially symmetric cruciform arrangement of aerodynamic surfaces. Control surfaces of original (so-called "butterfly") configuration permit using the same surfaces both for missile yaw and pitch control as well as for its roll stabilization. Each of the four control surfaces has an independent hydraulic drive with a pump-accumulator system for supplying pressure fluid. Canard surfaces are mounted ahead of them. Changing their size ensures identical balance characteristics of the missile when the homing head is replaced.

The R-27 has been widely exported to almost all countries that are armed with MiG-29, Su-27 / Su-30 fighters and other Russian-made combat aircraft. This semi-active guided missile, developed more than 30 years ago, is not considered an effective weapon in modern air combat. This is due to the fact that many countries are currently armed with fighters equipped with missiles with an active seeker, airborne radars with a significantly increased detection range and digital electronic warfare technologies, which are becoming more and more effective in the fight against missiles with semi-active seeker.

The R-27 was put into service in 1987, it was created from the end of 1974, as a copy of the American AIM-7 missile, which has been in service since 1956, and removed from it in the 1990s. Therefore, by the way, the strange aerodynamic scheme of the R-27 in the form of a "butterfly" was chosen for the R-27: the goal was to create a copy that was unlike the Origanal, while eliminating the shortcomings of its aerodynamics. The AIM-7 missile has been constantly improved for all 50 years that it has been in service, which allowed it to improve hit statistics: from 8% in the Vietnam War for the AIM-7A modification to 40% in the Gulf War for the AIM-7P.

Why is R-27 worse than analogues? First, there is the huge span of the rocket rudders of one and a half meters. Because of this, only 2 medium-range missiles can be suspended on the MiG-29 light fighter - they will simply interfere with each other. By the way, due to the smaller size of the Russian RVV-SD, they can be suspended on the same MiG-29SMT as many as six pieces. For comparison, on the still light F-16 fighter, it is possible to bring as many as 8 AIM-120 missiles . Now the option with an increase to 12 is being worked out. On the Jas-39, up to 6 medium-range missiles. Given that the shape and size of the rudders is the basis of the rocket's aerodynamics, it will be necessary to develop a completely new rocket to eliminate this shortcoming. With different engine, rudder drives, weight and dimensions.

Second, this is a backward semi-active Self-Guidance Head (hereinafter referred to as the GOS), which requires constant illumination from the carrier aircraft's on- board radar until the missile hits it, thereby significantly limiting the maneuverability of the carrier aircraft and greatly complicating the pilot's task. That is, for a successful missile hit with a semi-active seeker, it is necessary to keep the enemy aircraft in the field of action of its own radar all the time, which not only insanely complicates the entire guidance process, but also forces us to be in the enemy's radius of destruction all the time.

Imagine what it would be like to aim a missile at an enemy while flying at transonic speed. And add here also the maneuvering of the target and its flight at supersonic speed. The active seeker allows, 6-9 seconds after the missile launch, to leave the radius of destruction of enemy missiles. + makes it much easier for the pilot. Also, a semi-active seeker is extremely vulnerable to modern means of electronic suppression.

Third is the shorter range of the rocket. I hope there is no need to explain why a rocket flying 95 km is inferior to a rocket flying 110-120 km? But this, by the way, is quite easy to solve - to change the engine to a more modern one (there are even projects).

Fourth, extremely heavy rocket rudder drives. Due to the large span of the rudders, their control unit weighs about 70 kilograms (that is, almost half of the American AIM-120 missile). Therefore, all medium-range missiles have a tail. Moreover, there are many new short-range missiles such as the AIM-132, IRIS-T, A-darter and even the new AIM-9x. There are also complaints about the missile's flight and maneuverability characteristics.

Therefore, it is not surprising that, based on the results of the combat use of R-27 missiles of the Ethiopian Air Force from Su-27 fighters against the Eritrean MiG-29s, the Chinese made disappointing conclusions: only four missiles out of 97 launched, that is: The efficiency of the R-27 was around 4%, which is comparable to the efficiency of the American AIM-4 Falcon missiles in the Vietnam War.

Three Ukrainian companies involved in rocketry and electronics intend to jointly develop a new dual-mode active-passive radar seeker for air-to-air guided missiles. It is designed to improve the R-27 medium-range missile of the Ukrainian state-owned company Artem. The new GOS will not be offered as an alternative to countries interested in purchasing Russian-assembled RVV-AE missiles from component parts of Ukrainian factories - KB Luch, Radar plant, GHK Artem, Vizar plant. This was announced by representatives of the developers at the Aviasvit-XXI international aerospace show, held near Kiev from September 27 to October 1, 2012.

During the Ukrainian air show, the main contractors of the new program agreed on common goals and shares of participation in it. Among its main participants are Radionix, the largest Ukrainian developer of electronic warfare and airborne radars, the Luch missile design bureau and the Radar plant, which is currently producing a modernized version of the 9B-1101K semi-active seeker. The new GOS is similar in functionality to the GOS of Agat, presented more than two years earlier.

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Page last modified: 13-09-2021 17:23:34 ZULU