MiG-31BMs get R-74M missile hitting targets in the rear hemisphere

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MOSCOW, RUSSIA — According to a source close to the Russian military department, all Russian MiG-31BM combat interceptors were armed with the latest R-74M short-range air-to-air missiles, also known as RVV-MD [NATO reporting name AA-11 Archer].

Photo by Vitaly V. Kuzmin

It is noted that with the R-74M missile, the interceptor received expanded capabilities in terms of the range of the launch angle and is now capable of hitting air targets even in the rear hemisphere on the “fire-and-forget” principle. The missile compensates for the MiG-31BM’s poor maneuverability by allowing it to engage targets at more extreme angles.

According to the developer, Special Design and Technology Bureau NPO Kurganpribor, the new modification of the R-74M missile has a solid fuel engine with a deflectable thrust vector, which provides it with incredible maneuverability and a maximum range of hitting the target up to 40 km.

What do we know about the R-74M?

The homing head is capable of detecting targets in a 120° wide sector, and the GOS coordinator can deviate 75° from the neutral position. In flight, a missile can dramatically change direction and even target, due to the use of a more advanced seeker.

That is, now all MiG-31BM high-altitude interceptors have been given the opportunity for close combat with such targets as more maneuverable fighters, unmanned aircraft, and cruise and ballistic missiles. Also, the ability to hit these targets without changing the angle of attack.

According to the technical characteristics, the R-74M missile can hit targets at a height of 20 meters to 20 kilometers and has increased protection against various types of electronic traps, which is important today.

Several military experts already assure that this type of armament has significantly increased the capabilities of the MiG-31BM interceptor. Traditionally, there are still no more detailed features and information about this product in the public space.

Used for the first time

The missile was first presented at the Army 2018 forum, but then its appearance went unnoticed. Later, information appeared in the Russian media that the initial batch of these missiles was ordered by the Ministry of Defense.

It is known that the R-74M was used for the first time by pilots of naval aviation during the exercises held in Kamchatka in 2020. With the help of this MiG-31BM missile, a cruise missile launched from a coastal anti-ship complex was intercepted for the first time.

Photo credit: MWM

It is worth noting that the MiG-31BM is primarily designed for long-range combat. But today in the air they can meet such adversaries as drones and high-speed missiles. And for this, they simply need a universal set of weapons.

It was noted earlier that in the future the Ka-52M and M-28NM helicopters should also receive the same missiles to combat highly maneuverable air targets, including fighters. So far, however, there is no information about the use of the R-74M in combat operations by Russian attack helicopters.


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