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.
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