AA-13 ARROW / K-37/R-37 / RVV-BD
By 2015 the Russians were starting to deploy the R-37/AA-X-13 (reported by some credible sources to have a range in excess of 150 nautical miles [nm]) on their upgraded MiG-31BM. Additionally, the Russians say that variants can also be mounted on other aircraft such as the Su-35 and their T-50 fifth-generation fighter.
The K-37 / R-37 long-range air-to-air missile, known today as the RVV-BD, was created by specialists of the II Toropov State Machine-Building Design Bureau Vympel, which specializes in the development of various aviation armaments. Today, this design bureau is part of the corporation Tactical Missile Armament. The RVV-BD missile was officially adopted in 2014 and today has the maximum launch range among all guided air-to-air missiles in the world.
At one time, one of the outstanding achievements of the Vympel Design Bureau was the creation of the first Russian guided air-to-air missile of the long-range R-33. The missile was specially designed for the armament of the MiG-31 interceptor fighter. It was adopted by the Soviet Army on May 6, 1981 and is used in the armed forces of our country to this day, contributing to strengthening the defense capability of the state and participating in combat duty to protect the airspace of the Russian Federation. The R-33 (K-33, according to the NATO codification AA-9 Amos) ensures the defeat of various air targets flying at speeds of up to 3,000 km / h at a maximum distance of up to 160 km.
Work on the new missile was launched already in the early 1980s after the introduction of the R-33 missile. In 1981, a technical proposal for a new interceptor MiG-31M with missiles K-37 was presented. The development of a more advanced missile similar to the R-33 (K-33) missile for the arming of the MiG-31M interceptor was launched by the Vympel CB on April 8, 1983, after the appearance of the corresponding resolution of the Council of Ministers of the USSR. In the same year, the outline design of the missile, which received the designation K-37, was defended. The "K" index in the title means an armament system, which is under development.
The first flight of the prototype MiG-31M (serial No. 05-01-01) took place on December 21, 1985. The rocket tests were started in 1988 with autonomous ballistic missile launches without a control system (10 launches). In 1989, software missiles without an aiming system (4 launches) participated in the tests - flying under the control of an autopilot under the program. In the same year, 1989, missile tests began with a guidance system (2 launches).
The tests for a new rocket began in 1988, when 10 autonomous ballistic missile launches were made without a control system. In 1989, four more launches were made, in the tests participated program missiles without a guidance system - flying under the control of an autopilot for a given program.
For the first time a new development of domestic engineers was presented in public in the framework of the Minsk show of new aircraft technology, which was held in March 1992. The rockets were demonstrated on the ventral suspension of the MiG-31M interceptors (6 missiles on the ACU-610 holders under the fuselage of the aircraft). Even then it was noted that the missile adopted many features of the predecessor - the R-33 / K-33 missile. In April 1994, Russian President Boris Nikolaevich Yeltsin congratulated the creators of the new missile with the successful defeat of the air target at a record range of 304 km.
Rocket tests continued until 1997. This year, most likely, because of a violation of cooperation with Ukrainian enterprises that were involved in the creation of systems for guiding a new missile, it was decided to develop an guidance system using exclusively Russian components. This situation imposed on the country's difficult economic situation significantly slowed down the work on the creation of a new missile, which, in the course of development, managed to be transformed into an RVV-BD missile, which is almost a complete analogue of the R-37 missile. According to the NATO codification, the RVV-BD missile is known as AA-13 ARROW. As an export option was first demonstrated at the MAKS-2011 air show.
Most of the constructive technical solutions implemented in the R-33 missile were performed at the level of inventions and strings that allow for the modification of the product in the future. Employees of the design bureau were actively using the potential built into the "long-range" missile design, which makes it possible to create new long-range air-to-air missiles for various aircraft carriers. New models of such weapons are equipped with more sophisticated electronic digital equipment and propulsion systems, modern battery-powered power supplies and powerful warheads. One of the new Vympel missiles was the RVV-BD missile, which in 2014 was officially adopted and sent to mass production. The rocket became a worthy successor to the R-33, inheriting from it not only some elements of appearance and dimensions, but also the best qualities. The new missile fits nicely into its niche and can be used on all types of interceptor MiG-31 (B, BS, BM), as well as other modern fighters of the MiG and Su families.
According to the information of the developer, the RVV-BD missile is a controlled air-to-air missile of a long-range range. It is designed to destroy various air targets (airplane, cruise missile, helicopter) at any time of the day, at all angles, including in the conditions of electronic countermeasures (REW) from the enemy, against the background of the earth and water surface, including multi-channel firing on the principle of "shot-forget." The announced launch range for the export version is 200 km, the mass of the warhead is 60 kg.
The RVB-BD missile guidance system is inertial with radio-correction and active radar homing, which is activated at the end of the missile's flight path. As a propulsion system, a two-mode solid fuel engine is used. As an explosive device, the radar active non-contact and contact sensors of the target are used. The military part of the rocket is fragmentation-high explosive. The suspension of the RVV-BD rocket to the carrier aircraft is carried out with the help of an aviation catapult device, two models of ACU-410-1 or ACU-620 are used.
The rocket K-37 was made in a normal aerodynamic scheme with a wing of small elongation, but with a large chord. The missile stabilizers are in the folded position until the moment of launch. In comparison with the K-37, the RVV-BD missile is smaller in size, in particular the shortened head compartment with a radome-transparent fairing of a new shape. The length of the rocket was reduced by 140 mm. In this case, when placed on a carrier aircraft, the RVV-BD guided missile, in contrast to the K-37, consists of only upper stabilizer controls.
The designated service life of the RVV-BD missile is 8 years. The designated resource for accomplishing an unlimited number of takeoffs-landings from runways with concrete covering - 50 flying hours (20 takeoffs-landings from metal and subsoil runways). The time of continuous operation of the rocket equipment in flight while under the carrier aircraft is 3 hours.
As experts note, RVV-BD missiles are designed primarily to destroy long-range enemy cruise missiles, as well as their direct carrier aircraft. Due to the design features that are required to ensure the enormous range of the missile's flight, it has less maneuvering capabilities than small- and medium-range missiles. At the same time, its maneuverability is much better than that of its predecessor, the R-33 missile (4g overloaded targets). The use of RVV-BD missiles can at least significantly disorganize the enemy, disrupt the combat order of aviation. The use of such missiles significantly expands the capabilities of Russian combat aircraft, enabling them to successfully engage enemy cruise missiles from a long distance,
It is clear that the effective firing range of such a missile for the purposes of the "fighter" class is much lower than the declared maximum values, but in any case it significantly exceeds the range of the medium-range guided air-to-air missiles of today. The range of capture of an active target by the RVV-BD missile with an effective reflecting surface of 5 m2 is estimated at 40 km.
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