I know this was probably discussed somewhere, but can anyone give me a quick rundown about indian whining that their R-77s had too little range and were to inaccurate compared to pakistani AMRAAMs, and thats why they lost the skirmish? BJP monkeys started parroting this on youtube and now these claims abound in western defence media.
They got the cheaper older model R-77s because they didn't want to spend money on better models, plus there is no evidence the Pakistanis outranged them in any way. Sounds to me to be more a case of India not having a unified integrated air defence network where all the planes and ground and air based radar early warning and other systems can communicate and coordinate their operations... and without that having even the longest range AAM means nothing.
And what does that even mean inaccurate?
Are they trying to say their missiles flew past the Pakistani aircraft but didn't get close enough to explode.... is there any evidence of this at all?
AFAIK India uses the RVV AE with 110km range and the pakis use AIM-120C7 with 105km range. Theoretically bith are around equal with R-77 having a slightly larger NEZ due to better supersonic performance and G tolerance due to grid fins in exchange for smaller max range.
Neither missile could hit a modern fighter at such actual distances... that is just circle jerk bullshit.
Indians are also blaming "inferior russian seekers"
Most of the early missiles they bought were made at a time when Russia had no fighters able to carry R-77 missiles, and from memory the first ARH modules for the R-77 were made in the Ukraine.
The current ones are rather more sophisticated and made in Russia... but if they want to swap to buying US fighters I am sure they will get on well buying F-35s... cheaper than Rafales but with flying costs 4 times more most likely.
Such a shame russians abandoned their unique grid fin approach, in favor of generic fins. Theoretically , if the grid fins are folded in flight and the launching aircraft has supersonic speed, the problem of transonic drag shouldnt matter.
They don't even have them folded on wing pylons.
I thought a best of both worlds solution would be to have a solid rocket booster section that fitted over the rear of the missile so the control points where the grid fins fold out to use for control could be attached to the rear booster motor and control rear mounted simple small low drag fins.
When launched it is thrown down by the pylon and the solid rocket booster ignites and propels the missile forwards... the fins on the booster angle the missile upwards in a climb to altitude and then the solid rocket internal components get ejected backwards out of the rear booster which stays attached to the missile so it continues to use the small low drag fins... the main missile rocket motor lights up and directs its thrust through the rear booster and accelerates the missile to even higher speeds and higher altitude... when the target is in range and the onboard radar gets a lock the booster section can be dumped and the grid fins can deploy for the high g terminal interception phase of the engagement.
You could improve performance by making the original missile shorter and lighter and only containing the terminal rocket motor fuel, with a longer heavier booster for the initial launch and cruise to target area, and then be able to use the grid fins in the terminal attack phase where it would be very effective.
Wasnt the main disadvantage of the R-73 massive vulnerability to flares, compared to more technologically advanced seeker heads of the AIM-9P and M?
Actually it was the opposite, the R-73 was not vulnerable to flares... the kills were deemed to be kills in the training based on telemetry and tests of the missiles and their flight performance and seeker performance. The MiG-29s flares worked very well against the missiles used in the west, which is what drove the development of the AMRAAM.
The plan in the 1980s was that the US would make the AMRAAM and everyone in HATO would buy it, and Britain would make ASRAAM and everyone including America would buy that too. But the same as what happened with most such things everyone did their own thing... when they tested the MiG-29 and R-73 they knew that WVR combat was just too dangerous... even if they launched first their target aircraft had until your missile killed him to launch a missile at you and kill you and that would be 1:1 which of course was unacceptable for HATO which did not have numerical superiority remember.
The Americans focussed on AMRAAM and upgraded their Sidewinders to X models thinking IIR seekers would fix the problem against Soviet flares... as we saw in Syria against an Su-22 this does not seem to be the case even now.
What makes me not believe that story is the fact that the range of 80 km was brought up in the first place.
Very good post... talking of max range missile engagements sounds like armchair generals.
These max range figures might make sense if the target is a big heavy aircraft like an inflight refuelling aircraft or AWACS, but a nimble little fighter... no chance.
Also the distance given is where the launch aircraft is medium to high altitude and flying at a decent speed against a target flying towards them at a reasonable speed too.
Most AMRAAM launches are between 20km and 40km to make sure it has plenty of energy for the intercept, and most R-77 attacks would be the same.
Regarding early R-77s, the Malaysians operated MiG-29s and Hornets and had both early AMRAAMs and early R-77s and during training with Australia I seem to remember them saying they were simulating launching R-77s about 10-15km further away than they did with their AMRAAMs.
When the other side buys new missiles and you keep using older ones... well...
With Brahmos being so successful I am surprised they haven't started a joint venture to make long range AAMs... it is just an obvious thing for them to do... they probably could have paid for it with the 8 billion they spent on Rafales.... Russia can make scramjet engines and that would create an air to air missile a generation ahead of Meteor in terms of speed and range.