Just a quick question please, is AA-12 really more efficient than AIM 120 AMRAAN ?
Is like asking a father which son he loves best... both are likely to be effective and both have plus and minus features.
The AMRAAM is lower drag, and is far more widely deployed and can be considered fully operational with most fighters in the US able to operate it. It is fully digital and is orders of magnitude more effective than the Sparrow SARH missiles it replaced. (PK (kill probability) of 40% compared with PK of about 4-5% for Sparrow).
The AA-12 is actually several missiles from the early RVV-AE that was a Soviet missile (with a Ukrainian seeker) to the current RVV-SD which is all digital with a Texas Instruments controller chip.
The AA-12 has grid rear fins for flight control that allow better manouver capability with the penalty of higher drag and increased RCS. Of course the higher drag is nullified because the Mig-29 and Su-27 based aircraft that can carry it can accelerate to higher speeds than their western counterparts before launching the missiles, and the better manoeuvre capability means it is much harder to evade for the target.
The AA-12 can engage targets pulling 12g.
It will be interesting to see what versions of the AA-12 go into service as the previous model (R-27) had IR and passive radar homing models too. In fact there were more than a dozen different combinations of AAM based on the AA-10 including models especially for the Su-33 and Mig-29K for use over water, models for older upgraded aircraft like the Mig-21-98 and Mig-23-98, plus also larger rocket motor versions and even ARH models.
Despite what you read in books most BVR engagements don't occur at hundreds of kms range... generally they will occur at ranges of 20km to about 60km and no more.
Even if it says the missile has a range of 110km no pilot will waste a missile trying to hit a target at that range.
The question is like asking which is better... an M16 or an AK... and you will get as many answers as people you ask, but on this forum I would say the R-77... with its folding rear grid fin design is rather more unique and interesting than the boring triangular fin AMRAAM. Both are designed for internal carriage.
I have read that a new model R-77 will have all triangular fins to reduce drag and extend range. (range is good for low RCS aircraft as the further you can launch your missile from the less likely he is to detect your presence).
Personally I would like to see a two stage R-77 with a solid rocket booster that has small triangular folding fins in a fairing over the rear grid fins.
The result would be you launch the missile and the solid rocket booster unfolds its stabilising fins, which together with the body strakes keep the missile flying with the rear grid fins folded in a low drag configuration. When the solid rocket booster burns out it can fall away leaving the fairing over the rear grid fins with the small triangle fins directing the missile in a low drag mode powered by the missiles rocket engine on a cruise to the target area.
When the target is detected the light fairing can drop away and the rear grid fins can deploy and steer the missile to the target.
The triangular fins can be connected to the servos for the rear grid fins but for the early part of the journey the missile does not need to be very manouverable. When the missile is in the target area the fairing can be dropped and the grid fins deployed for maximum manouver capability.
The rear grid fins actually generate less drag than a fin of the same control surface area, but most control surfaces don't have as much area so they generate less drag, but also less lift. The grid fins allow much harder turns as they work at much higher angles of attack than ordinary fins... in other words if the triangular fin of the AMRAAM could turn as far as the grid fins on the R-77 they would stall and stop turning the missile. The grid fins continue to exert a turning force on the missile to allow it to turn harder and faster than other modern missiles that don't use thrust vectoring control.