The R-33 long-range missile was created for arming MiG-31 fighter-interceptors. The AA-9 NATO Amos was designed to supplement thelook down/shoot capability of the MIG-31 Foxhound. It is also an alternative weapon for the SU-27 Flanker. The AA-9 may incorporate semi-active radar/inertial midcourse guidance with active radar terminal guidance bringing it into the same class as the US Navy's AIM-54 Phoenix. The AA-9 may also be available in a passive radar homing version designed to attack AWACS. It became operational in 1980 and is capable of engaging SR-71 strategic reconnaissance aircraft, B-52 and B-1 bombers, aircraft of front and transport aviation, and also helicopters and cruise missiles. The R-33 may be used at any time of day, under any weather conditions, in the presence of interference and jamming to engage targets flying against earth and water surfaces.The missile is made in a normal aerodynamic scheme and has a cruciform configuration. Lifting surfaces of the R-33 are made with a low aspect ratio and two control surfaces are folding for its semi-recessed accommodation beneath the platform's fuselage. Control and stabilization in three angles are accomplished with the help of four mechanically unconnected (differential) aerodynamic surfaces activated by gas drives. The missile is equipped with a semiactive radar homing head that locks onto a target on the trajectory. Guidance of the R-33 to a target is a combination: inertial in the initial phase and homing in the terminal phase.
The R-33 is the first Russian air-to-air missile to use an onboard digital computer, which has stable characteristics compared with analogue devices. It is fitted with an active radar proximity fuze and impact fuze as well as with an HE-fragmentation warhead.On August 28, 1978 for the first time the flight experiment to simultaneously defeat four radio-controlled targets with missiles was conducted with the R-33 fired from the MiG-31 interceptor with the weapon control system (SUV) "Salon" equipped with the BRLS (FAR) - phased antenna antenna. The leading designer, the winner of the Lenin Prize, the winner of the Russian Government Award, winner of the Higher Prize Soviet Schools, Distinguished Designer of the Russian Federation - Advisor Deputy Director-General for Research and Development, Yu.K. Sakharov, appointed at the end of the GSLI by the order of the Minister Soviet aviation industry Kazakov V.A. from 19 November 1980 deputy chief designer of the Vimpel plant. During this period, the MiG-31 interceptor with R-33 missiles was in the final phase of the State Joint Flight Trials (GSLI), during which this very complex and technically important experiment was carried out. The challenge was confirm the ability of a new generation of aircraft to effectively hit missiles long-range four air targets at the same time, flying in different modes. On that day, August 28, the chairman leading the experiment State Commission on GSLI was twice Hero of the Soviet Union Air Marshal Savitsky Yevgeny Yakovlevich. The experiment began on his team. About 20 aircraft were brought into the air. Planes took off, radio-controlled targets and escort planes. Four prototype R-33 missiles fired of one fighter, hit all four targets from the first Times. This experiment summed up the 12-year the hard work of the company's team creation of the country's first long-range missile for the MiG-31 interceptor aircraft.
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