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Su-35S to fire R-37M missile

Su-35S multirole fighter jets will be able to fire R-37M air-to-air guided missiles. They will destroy targets in a radius of 200 km and provide an edge over the latest foreign analogues. R-37M will be able to down AEW aircraft and intercept cruise missile carriers before the launch, the Izvestia daily writes.

Su 35S to fire R 37M missile Newest Su-35S during its first flight (Picture source: Russian MoD)

Su-35 with R-37M missiles (also known as RVV-BD) began test flights. Test launches are expected in late 2020. At present, electromagnetic compatibility and integration into onboard arms are tested.

Su-35 is to become the third type of aircraft to carry the missile. Its powerful radar and communications with automatic air defense system allow engaging missiles with such a big range.

The new weapon will increase the characteristics and combat capabilities of Su-35, former Commander of the 4th air force and defense army, Hero of Russia Lieutenant-General Valery Gorbenko said.

“It will engage in a broad range of missions, defensive and offensive combat. It will be able to down AEW aircraft, bombers and tactical aviation. It is difficult for the adversary to escape such missiles, as it has little time to maneuver from the threat,” he said.

Su 35S to fire R 37M missile 02 R-37M (also known as RVV-BD) missile showcased at MAKS 2013 (Picture source: Air Recognition)

One Su-35 can carry two-four RVV-BD which will bring its combat capabilities close to Su-57. The 200-km range makes the missile superior to US AIM-120 air-to-air missiles which are the main air combat weapon for NATO aircraft. The range is twice as big as R-77 has. It is the longest-range missile for Su-35 at present.

Su-35 will remain the latest Russian fighter jet until fifth-generation Su-57 is accepted into service. The Aerospace Forces have to receive 98 aircraft by the contracts signed in 2009 and 2015. The final batch of ten jets is to be supplied this year. The procurement of an additional batch has been announced.

R-37M was designed for upgraded MiG-31BM to replace outdated R-33. It was later adapted for Su-57. The long-range R-37M operates by the fire-and-forget principle. It has a sensitive homing warhead which detects targets without additional guidance by the radar of the fighter jet as it happens with older models with semi-active guidance.

RVV-BD can sustain a double overload against R-33 predecessor which was designed to destroy the same targets. It can catch up with big aircraft and maneuverable fighter jets.

Due to a high speed the missile covers the maximum distance to the target in two-three minutes. The inertial navigation system with precision laser gyroscopes guides it most of the flight. If the target changes the course, the missile trajectory can be adjusted via a radio channel by the fighter jet.

The radar homing warhead activates in the target area. Its characteristics are not disclosed, but the designer earlier said its new products can lock on a target at a distance of 40-70 km. The distance is shorter for stealth aircraft or cruise missiles, but longer for big bombers. It can be only then detected by radar emission, however it is problematic to react and escape a high-speed missile from a short distance.

Other fourth-generation fighter jets can be armed with R-37M in future. They can be adapted for Su-30SM, in particular, the Izvestia said.

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