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Bad News for U.S. Warplane Pilots: Russiaís New Dogfighting Missile Canít Miss
War is Boring ^ | 12/04/2013 | David Axe

Posted on 12/04/2013 10:10:07 PM PST by sukhoi-30mki

Moscow’s new active-array missile could be the most accurate ever

By combining two existing technologies, Russian engineers have devised what could be the world’s deadliest air-to-air missile. And the U.S. military doesn’t have anything like it … or adequate defenses.

Designers at the Detal bureau, part of the state-owned Tactical Missile Munitions Corporation, added an active electronically-scanned array radar—a so-called “AESA”—to the nose of a long-range R-77 missile to produce the K-77M model. Thanks to its new guidance sensors, the K-77M is way more accurate than other missiles.

How accurate? Flying 40 miles or more, the K-77M should be able “to maintain lock on even the most agile maneuvering target,” according to one scientist and defense specialist in the Pacific region whose country’s laws prohibit him from speaking on the record about weaponry. In light of the scientist’s expertise, War is Boring agreed not to publish his name.

With enough funding, the K-77M could enter service as early as 2015, in time to be fitted to the first combat-ready versions of Russia’s new stealth fighter, the powerful T-50. The combination of T-50 and K-77M could match or even best America’s own F-22 stealth fighter, which is fast and hard to detect but lacks an advanced air-to-air missile.

And the T-50 with its new munition is sure to vastly outclass the U.S. F-35, a smaller, less capable stealth fighter meant to comprise the bulk of the American warplane fleet in coming decades.

Smarter missile Traditional air-to-air missiles include a small mechanical radar antenna in the nose. These mechanical radar missiles have a major weakness that occurs in the final seconds before the munition reaches its target.

“The angular motion—and specifically the angle rate of antenna movement as the missile closes on the target—can be so high that the seeker cannot keep up and the target slips out of the antenna beam, causing missile lock to be broken,” the scientist explains.

In other words, if a pilot turns quickly in any direction right before a missile hits his plane, he stands a good chance of slipping outside the field of view of the missile’s radar, causing it to fly harmlessly away. The inability of most munitions to cope with violent maneuvers helps explain why radar-guided air-to-air missiles typically have very low hit rates.

But the K-77M could change all that. Gone is the mechanical array. In its place, Detal’s engineers have added what Russia Today describes as “a large number”—possibly hundreds—of individual digital arrays, each pointing its own radar beam essentially at the speed of light.

“Each cell receives only a part of the signal,” RT reports, “but once digitally processed, the information from all cells is summarized into a ‘full picture,’ enabling the K-77M missile to immediately respond to sharp turns of the target, making interception practically inevitable.”

That’s not hyperbole, according to the scientist. “Because an AESA or phased array is steered electronically, the antenna beam can be adjusted in direction several thousand times per second and is not limited in angle rate, thus allowing an AESA-equipped missile to maintain lock.”

Considering the huge advantage an active-array missile has over older munitions, it’s perhaps surprising that Russia is the only country developing one. Amid budget reductions, the U.S. and Europe have essentially stopped investing in new seekers for air-to-air missiles. Almost all of America’s aerospace capital is being poured into fixing problems with the F-35 as well as developing a new stealth bomber.

But Russia typically exports its missile technology to China—and the K-77M should be no exception. “We should not be surprised to see the AESA seeker sold to China for use in Chinese-built PL-12 [missile] in 2015 or 2016,” the scientist warns.

To survive a dogfight with a foe armed with K-77Ms, an American plane needs to be stealthier or employ better radar jamming, the scientist advises. Considering the F-35's many design compromises, U.S. stealth technology probably reached its pinnacle with the F-22, which ended its production run two years ago.

And as for jamming … the Pentagon for years has struggled to develop new electronic countermeasures, with the Air Force in particular having all but abandoned electronic warfare in favor of spending more money on stealth.


TOPICS:
KEYWORDS: aam; aerospace; davidaxe; r77; russia; warisboring
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Comment #21 Removed by Moderator

To: dr_lew

They tell their pilots this to get them to make that first sortie.

Then, if none come back, they tell them a different lie.

Soviet Union lost 14.5 million men in the first phase of Great Patriotic War. That took a lot of lies to get men to walk into German fire. They would literally stop german infantry units by depleting them of ammunition by giving them targets to shoot. German units wouldn’t advance when they had no ammunition.


22 posted on 12/04/2013 11:46:35 PM PST by donmeaker
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To: sukhoi-30mki

how good my AIM....

Fine, Stands off about 100 miles....and carry six per plane...

Buh, Bye.


23 posted on 12/05/2013 12:00:02 AM PST by Vendome (Don't take life so seriously-you won't live through it anyway-Enjoy Yourself ala Louis Prima)
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To: steve86

AFAIK Iraqis shot down F-18 with an earlier type of that same missile in 1991.


24 posted on 12/05/2013 12:04:01 AM PST by cunning_fish
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To: donmeaker

>>>Soviet Union lost 14.5 million men in the first phase of Great Patriotic War. That took a lot of lies to get men to walk into German fire. They would literally stop german infantry units by depleting them of ammunition by giving them targets to shoot. German units wouldn’t advance when they had no ammunition.<<<

It is a version of former Nazy Generals. Soviets has another version and both are lies.

Actual kill ratio between Germans and Soviets is about 1:1,5-2, not 1 to 10 as some Nazis claim. Also a huge portion of Soviet military deaths are POWs starved and tortured to death by the Nazy. Soviets simply weren’t so cruel to match the other counterpart.


25 posted on 12/05/2013 12:22:23 AM PST by cunning_fish
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To: Red Steel

Remember, both the Russians and the Red Chinese produce weapons in “mass quantities” (hat tip to the Coneheads). If you put enough planes with enough missiles on them in the air and fire, nothing we have is going to survive, no matter how stealthy they are.

The old “Swarm Tactic” works. Just ask our men who were attacked by Japanese kamikaze planes. It only took one to sink a destroyer or aircraft carrier, and they did.

Today’s explosive warheads are many times more powerful so a massed array of them fired at a target/zone are going to hit it just by sheer numbers and weapons mix.

Don’t forget. The Israeli Air Force in 1973 almost ran out of planes even though it was beginning to win on the ground. It was only the US replacement supply line that saved the day (despite Kissinger’s reported attempts to interfere with it).


26 posted on 12/05/2013 12:27:44 AM PST by MadMax, the Grinning Reaper
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To: F15Eagle
Obama and his Russians may not be our main problem.

27 posted on 12/05/2013 12:47:51 AM PST by Yosemitest (It's Simple ! Fight, ... or Die !)
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To: Yosemitest
Thanks for posting this article. It should be sent to eveyone we know..have to keep reminding people of how much info is out there on communist/socialist/marxist/muzlim infiltrator-loving obozo.
28 posted on 12/05/2013 1:48:09 AM PST by itssme
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To: itssme
You're welcome, but check out comment #27.
29 posted on 12/05/2013 1:50:15 AM PST by Yosemitest (It's Simple ! Fight, ... or Die !)
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To: Yosemitest
Yes, we're getting “incoming” from every direction these days. So, it's heads up, and the hope that we don't get hit in the head, like we don't have enough to worry about! Sheesh.
30 posted on 12/05/2013 2:08:46 AM PST by itssme
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To: sukhoi-30mki
now that's a sobering article, thanks forthe post.

31 posted on 12/05/2013 2:31:07 AM PST by skinkinthegrass (The end move in politics is always to pick up a gun..0'Caligula / 0'Reid / 0'Pelosi 8-)
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To: dr_lew
Yes, phased arrays have been around for a long time. AESAs, active electronically scanned arrays are somewhat newer because the RF power (TX) and receiver (RX) are basically at the antenna elements that form the overall array. They are a sub class of phased arrays.

The use of AESAs is not so much technologically important in the missile vs. say, a standard corporate-fed array with element phase shifters, but economically and to an extent with respect to large scale manufacturing, it is a big advancement, especially at the frequencies we'd be talking for and A/A missile

32 posted on 12/05/2013 2:57:57 AM PST by Gaffer
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To: sukhoi-30mki

This is looking a lot like 1980. The difference is that in 1980, America voted to be put back to work and to be respected in the world again. In 2012, America voted for free abortions, free birth control, free government (tax payer) paid benefits, and gay marriage.


33 posted on 12/05/2013 3:47:30 AM PST by TwelveOfTwenty (See my home page for some of my answers to the left's talking points.)
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To: sukhoi-30mki

Not bad at all. I dont know how it can be more agile than AMRAAM. An antiradar chaff, laser or even gun/missile system could defeat it. The AMRAM uses INS and radar and could be modified like the french Micah to have a passive IR seeker.


34 posted on 12/05/2013 4:12:28 AM PST by lavaroise
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To: TwelveOfTwenty

the whore of Babylon will be hated and decapitated... Hillary?


35 posted on 12/05/2013 4:13:58 AM PST by lavaroise
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
The RMS Titanic can’t sink. If you like your plan you can keep it, PERIOD! If man were meant to fly he’d have wings. Of course I’ll call you. Have I ever lied to you? Your kitchen’ll be done in less than a month.

The check is in the mail.

I love you.

You'll feel a slight discomfort.

36 posted on 12/05/2013 4:26:03 AM PST by Tonytitan
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To: sukhoi-30mki

“[...] the U.S. and Europe have essentially stopped investing in new seekers for air-to-air missiles.”

That is not quite true for Europe:
IRIS-T/IDAS (ASRAAM)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IRIS-T
You have to view the movie of the seeker head moving. The fast moves are hard to see. Try slow motion right at the end of the movie.

MBDA Meteor (BVRAAM)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meteor_%28missile%29


37 posted on 12/05/2013 4:27:34 AM PST by MHalblaub ("Easy my friends, when it comes to the point it is only a drawing made by a non believing Dane...")
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To: sukhoi-30mki
Murdering and raping WHITE Americans by the thousands
is now A-OK to the Islamic DO"J" run by Holder.

This will NEVER be forgotten. EVER.

38 posted on 12/05/2013 4:35:26 AM PST by Diogenesis
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To: sukhoi-30mki

Eh.....it’s much more complicated than that.

First an unmanned missile can outmaneuver a piloted aircraft, at least in terms of absolute capability.

The biggest problem is in the control loop. Make that faster and a missile can maneuver faster. That’s a bigger innovation than the sensor, in my opinion, but one can argue.

The other problem is getting your platform in the right spot at the right time to fire a missile - which requires ground support systems, integrated air defense systems. We would not send a single aircraft against a fully integrated air defense system. So even if you had a “missile that can’t miss” it doesn’t mean a thing in and of itself.

Another problem is getting into position to fire without being fired upon first.

So this would seem like typical Russian hyperbole.


39 posted on 12/05/2013 4:41:45 AM PST by RFEngineer
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To: Revolutionary

You have it in one.

There is nothing in this chicken little article that even remotly looks like a silver bullet.

AESA is useful for three things: Lower maintenance of RF systems, multiple waveforming (ex. x-band, s-band, etc.), and beamforming. That’s it. It can’t magically “detect” anything it’s systems are not designed to detect.


40 posted on 12/05/2013 5:20:28 AM PST by Freeport (The proper application of high explosives will remove all obstacles.)
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