In 1955 the Kaliningrad (Moscow Oblast) Series Production Plant, which was producing gun turrets for M-4 bomber aircraft and similar equipment, began series production of the first K-5 and K-8 guided air-to-air missiles. The improved version K-8M was certified in 1961 as a combat weapon (designated by ordnance as the R-8M; the letter K referring to Engineering Office and the letter R referring to Air Force). This missile operated with the Oriol [Eagle] radar set.
In January 1960 it was decided to use the homing head of the K-13 missile in K-5 and K-8 missiles to devise a missile for tactical air combat. In 1962 M. Bisnovat's OKB-4 Special Engineering Office was testing K-88 missiles, smaller than the K-8 and with a K-13 head, although the K-88 never moved beyond prototype status.
Subsequent modifications of the K-8 missile led to the K-8M (R-8M1, more widely known as the K-98 or R-98), equipped with a semiactive radar homing head which enabled it to attack airborne targets not only from behind but also head on. The first interceptor-fighter system using the R-98 missile was the Su-15-98 aircraft. The missile was subsequently employed on the on the Yak-28P aircraft with the Oriol-D radar set, and later on the Su-15TM aircraft with the Tajfun [Typhoon]-M radar set.
In 1973 production of the R-98 missile shifted to the final variant, the R-98M (K-8M) with improved firing capabilities and greater resistance to countermeasures. The R-98M missile remains part of the combat load of the Su-15TM aircraft.
All these missiles were produced in two variants, with radar guidance (suffix R) and an infrared guidance (suffix T) respectively. The training version is the UR-8M, which first entered service in 1966.
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