The Info List - Air-to-air Missile

An air-to-air missile (AAM) is a missile fired from an aircraft for the purpose of destroying another aircraft. AAMs are typically powered by one or more rocket motors, usually solid fueled but sometimes liquid fueled. Ramjet
engines, as used on the Meteor (missile)
Meteor (missile)
are emerging as propulsion that will enable future medium-range missiles to maintain higher average speed across their engagement envelope. Air-to-air missiles are broadly put in two groups. Those designed to engage opposing aircraft at ranges of less than 30 km are known as short-range or "within visual range" missiles (SRAAMs or WVRAAMs) and are sometimes called "dogfight" missiles because they are designed to optimize their agility rather than range. Most use infrared guidance and are called heat-seeking missiles. In contrast, medium- or long-range missiles (MRAAMs or LRAAMs), which both fall under the category of beyond visual range missiles (BVRAAMs), tend to rely upon radar guidance, of which there are many forms. Some modern ones use inertial guidance and/or "mid-course updates" to get the missile close enough to use an active homing sensor.


1 History 2 Warhead 3 Guidance

3.1 Radar

3.1.1 Active radar homing 3.1.2 Semi-active radar homing 3.1.3 Beam riding

3.2 Infrared
guidance 3.3 Electro-optical 3.4 Passive Anti-radiation

4 Design 5 Missile
range 6 Performance

6.1 Dogfight

6.1.1 First generation 6.1.2 Second generation 6.1.3 Third generation 6.1.4 Fourth generation 6.1.5 Fifth generation

7 List of missiles by country

7.1 Brazil 7.2 France 7.3 Germany 7.4 European 7.5 India 7.6 Iran 7.7 Iraq 7.8 Israel 7.9 Italy 7.10 Japan 7.11 People's Republic of China 7.12 Soviet Union/Russian Federation 7.13 South Africa 7.14 Republic of China 7.15 United Kingdom 7.16 United States 7.17 Typical air-to-air missiles

8 See also 9 References 10 Inline citations 11 External links

History[edit] The air-to-air missile grew out of the unguided air-to-air rockets used during the First World War. Le Prieur rockets were sometimes attached to the struts of biplanes and fired electrically, usually against observation balloons, by such early pilots as Albert Ball
Albert Ball
and A. M. Walters.[1] Facing the Allied air superiority, Germany
in World War II invested limited effort into missile research, leading to the deployment of the R4M unguided rocket and the development of various guided missile prototypes such as the Ruhrstahl X-4. Post-war research led the Royal Air Force
Royal Air Force
to introduce Fairey Fireflash into service in 1955 but their results were unsuccessful. The US Navy
US Navy
and US Air Force
US Air Force
began equipping guided missiles in 1956, deploying the USAF's AIM-4 Falcon
AIM-4 Falcon
and the USN's AIM-7 Sparrow
AIM-7 Sparrow
and AIM-9 Sidewinder. The Soviet Air Force
Soviet Air Force
introduced its K-5 (missile) into service in 1957. As missile systems have continued to advance, modern air warfare consists almost entirely of missile firing. The use of Beyond Visual Range combat became so pervasive in the US that early F-4 variants were armed only with missiles in the 1960s. High casualty rates during the Vietnam War
Vietnam War
caused the US to reintroduce autocannons and traditional dogfighting tactics but the missile remains the primary weapon in air combat. In the Falklands War
Falklands War
British Harriers, using AIM-9L missiles were able to defeat faster Argentinian opponents.[2] Since the late 20th century all-aspect heat-seeking designs can lock-on to a target from various angles, not just from behind, where the heat signature from the engines is strongest. Other types rely on radar guidance (either on-board or "painted" by the launching aircraft). Warhead[edit] A conventional explosive blast warhead, fragmentation warhead, or continuous rod warhead (or a combination of any of those three warhead types) is typically used in the attempt to disable or destroy the target aircraft. Warheads are typically detonated by a proximity fuze or by an impact fuze if it scores a direct hit. Less commonly, nuclear warheads have been mounted on a small number of air-to-air missile types (such as the AIM-26 Falcon) although these are not known to have ever been used in combat. Guidance[edit]

AIM-9L Captive Air Training Missile
(CATM) with inert warhead and rocket motor for training purposes.

See also: Missile
guidance Guided missiles operate by detecting their target (usually by either radar or infrared methods, although rarely others such as laser guidance or optical tracking), and then "homing" in on the target on a collision course. Although the missile may use radar or infra-red guidance to home on the target, the launching aircraft may detect and track the target before launch by other means. Infra-red guided missiles can be "slaved" to an attack radar in order to find the target and radar-guided missiles can be launched at targets detected visually or via an infra-red search and track (IRST) system, although they may require the attack radar to illuminate the target during part or all of the missile interception itself. Radar
guidance[edit] Radar
guidance is normally used for medium- or long-range missiles, where the infra-red signature of the target would be too faint for an infra-red detector to track. There are three major types of radar-guided missile – active, semi-active, and passive. Radar-guided missiles can be countered by rapid maneuvering (which may result in them "breaking lock", or may cause them to overshoot), deploying chaff or using electronic counter-measures. Active radar homing[edit] Main article: Active radar homing Active radar (AR)-guided missiles carry their own radar system to detect and track their target. However, the size of the radar antenna is limited by the small diameter of missiles, limiting its range which typically means such missiles are launched at a predicted future location of the target, often relying on separate guidance systems such as Global Positioning System, inertial guidance, or a mid-course update from either the launching aircraft or other system that can communicate with the missile to get the missile close to the target. At a predetermined point (frequently based on time since launch or arrival near the predicted target location) the missile's radar system is activated (the missile is said to "go active"), and the missile then homes in on the target. If the range from the attacking aircraft to the target is within the range of the missile's radar system, the missile can "go active" immediately upon launch. The great advantage of an active radar homing system is that it enables a "fire-and-forget" mode of attack, where the attacking aircraft is free to pursue other targets or escape the area after launching the missile. Semi-active radar homing[edit] Main article: Semi-active radar homing Semi-active radar homing
Semi-active radar homing
(SARH) guided missiles are simpler and more common. They function by detecting radar energy reflected from the target. The radar energy is emitted from the launching aircraft's own radar system. However, this means that the launch aircraft has to maintain a "lock" on the target (keep illuminating the target aircraft with its own radar) until the missile makes the interception. This limits the attacking aircraft's ability to maneuver, which may be necessary should threats to the attacking aircraft appear. An advantage of SARH-guided missiles is that they are homing on the reflected radar signal, so accuracy actually increases as the missile gets closer because the reflection comes from a "point source": the target. Against this, if there are multiple targets, each will be reflecting the same radar signal and the missile may become confused as to which target is its intended victim. The missile may well be unable to pick a specific target and fly through a formation without passing within lethal range of any specific aircraft. Newer missiles have logic circuits in their guidance systems to help prevent this problem. At the same time, jamming the missile lock-on is easier because the launching aircraft is further from the target than the missile, so the radar signal has to travel further and is greatly attenuated over the distance. This means that the missile may be jammed or "spoofed" by countermeasures whose signals grow stronger as the missile gets closer. One counter to this is a "home on jam" capability in the missile that allows it to home in on the jamming signal. Beam riding[edit] Main article: Beam riding An early form of radar guidance was "beam-riding" (BR). In this method, the attacking aircraft directs a narrow beam of radar energy at the target. The air-to-air missile was launched into the beam, where sensors on the aft of the missile controlled the missile, keeping it within the beam. So long as the beam was kept on the target aircraft, the missile would ride the beam until making the interception. While conceptually simple, the move is hard because of the challenge of simultaneously keeping the beam solidly on the target (which couldn't be relied upon to cooperate by flying straight and level), continuing to fly one's own aircraft, and monitoring enemy countermeasures. An added complication was that the beam will spread out into a cone shape as the distance from the attacking aircraft increases. This will result in less accuracy for the missile because the beam may actually be larger than the target aircraft when the missile arrives. The missile could be securely within the beam but still not be close enough to destroy the target. Infrared
guidance[edit] Main article: Infrared
homing Infrared
guided (IR) missiles home on the heat produced by an aircraft. Early infra-red detectors had poor sensitivity, so could only track the hot exhaust pipes of an aircraft. This meant an attacking aircraft had to maneuver to a position behind its target before it could fire an infra-red guided missile. This also limited the range of the missile as the infra-red signature soon become too small to detect with increasing distance and after launch the missile was playing "catch-up" with its target. Early infrared seekers were unusable in clouds or rain (which is still a limitation to some degree) and could be distracted by the sun, a reflection of the sun off of a cloud or ground object, or any other "hot" object within its view. More modern infra-red guided missiles can detect the heat of an aircraft's skin, warmed by the friction of airflow, in addition to the fainter heat signature of the engine when the aircraft is seen from the side or head-on. This, combined with greater maneuverability, gives them an "all-aspect" capability, and an attacking aircraft no longer had to be behind its target to fire. Although launching from behind the target increases the probability of a hit, the launching aircraft usually has to be closer to the target in such a tail-chase engagement. An aircraft can defend against infra-red missiles by dropping flares that are hotter than the aircraft, so the missile homes in on the brighter, hotter target. In turn, IR missiles may employ filters to enable it to ignore targets whose temperature is not within a specified range. Towed decoys which closely mimic engine heat and infra-red jammers can also be used. Some large aircraft and many combat helicopters make use of so-called "hot brick" infra-red jammers, typically mounted near the engines. Current research is developing laser devices which can spoof or destroy the guidance systems of infra-red guided missiles. See Infrared
countermeasure. Start of the 21st century missiles such as the ASRAAM
use an "imaging infrared" seeker which "sees" the target (much like a digital video camera), and can distinguish between an aircraft and a point heat source such as a flare. They also feature a very wide detection angle, so the attacking aircraft does not have to be pointing straight at the target for the missile to lock on. The pilot can use a helmet mounted sight (HMS) and target another aircraft by looking at it, and then firing. This is called "off-boresight" launch. For example, the Russian Su-27
is equipped with an infra-red search and track (IRST) system with laser rangefinder for its HMS-aimed missiles. Electro-optical[edit] A recent advancement in missile guidance is electro-optical imaging. The Israeli Python-5
has an electro-optical seeker that scans designated area for targets via optical imaging. Once a target is acquired, the missile will lock-on to it for the kill. Electro-optical seekers can be programmed to target vital area of an aircraft, such as the cockpit. Since it does not depend on the target aircraft's heat signature, it can be used against low-heat targets such as UAVs and cruise missiles. However, clouds can get in the way of electro-optical sensors.[3] Passive Anti-radiation[edit] Main article: Anti-radiation missile Evolving missile guidance designs are converting the anti-radiation missile (ARM) design, pioneered during Vietnam and used to home in against emitting surface-to-air missile (SAM) sites, to an air intercept weapon. Current air-to-air passive anti-radiation missile development is thought to be a countermeasure to airborne early warning and control (AEW&C - also known as AEW or AWACS) aircraft which typically mount powerful search radars. Due to their dependence on target aircraft radar emissions, when used against fighter aircraft passive anti-radiation missiles are primarily limited to forward-aspect intercept geometry.[4] For examples, see Vympel R-27, Brazo, and AIM-97 Seekbat. Another aspect of passive anti-radiation homing is the "home on jam" mode which, when installed, allows a radar-guided missile to home in on the jammer of the target aircraft if the primary seeker is jammed by the electronic countermeasures of the target aircraft Design[edit] Air-to-air missiles are typically long, thin cylinders in order to reduce their cross section and thus minimize drag at the high speeds at which they travel. Missiles are divided into five primary systems (moving forward to aft): seeker, guidance, warhead, rocket motor, and control actuation. At the front is the seeker, either a radar system, radar homer, or infra-red detector. Behind that lies the avionics which control the missile. Typically after that, in the centre of the missile, is the warhead, usually several kilograms of high explosive surrounded by metal that fragments on detonation (or in some cases, pre-fragmented metal). The rear part of the missile contains the propulsion system, usually a rocket of some type and the control actuation system or CAS. Dual-thrust solid-fuel rockets are common, but some longer-range missiles use liquid-fuel motors that can "throttle" to extend their range and preserve fuel for energy-intensive final maneuvering. Some solid-fuelled missiles mimic this technique with a second rocket motor which burns during the terminal homing phase. There are missiles in development, such as the MBDA Meteor, that "breathe" air (using a ramjet, similar to a jet engine) in order to extend their range. Modern missiles use "low-smoke" motors – early missiles produced thick smoke trails, which were easily seen by the crew of the target aircraft alerting them to the attack and helping them determine how to evade it. The CAS is typically an electro-mechanical, servo control actuation system, which takes input from the guidance system and manipulates the airfoils or fins at the rear of the missile that guide or steers the weapon to target. Missile

A US Navy
US Navy
VF-103 Jolly Rogers F-14 Tomcat
F-14 Tomcat
fighter launches an AIM-54 Phoenix long-range air-to-air missile. Photo courtesy U.S. Navy Atlantic Fleet.

A missile is subject to a minimum range, before which it cannot maneuver effectively. In order to maneuver sufficiently from a poor launch angle at short ranges to hit its target, some missiles use thrust vectoring, which allow the missile to start turning "off the rail", before its motor has accelerated it up to high enough speeds for its small aerodynamic surfaces to be useful. Performance[edit] A number of terms frequently crop up in discussions of air-to-air missile performance.

Launch success zone The Launch Success Zone is the range within which there is a high (defined) kill probability against a target that remains unaware of its engagement until the final moment. When alerted visually or by a warning system the target attempts a last-ditch-manoeuvre sequence.

F-Pole A closely related term is the F-Pole. This is the slant range between the launch aircraft and target, at the time of interception. The greater the F-Pole, the greater the confidence that the launch aircraft will achieve air superiority with that missile.

A-Pole This is the slant range between the launch aircraft and target at the time that the missile begins active guidance or acquires the target with the missile's active seeker. The greater the A-Pole means less time and possibly greater distance that the launch aircraft needs to support the missile guidance until missile seeker acquisition.

No-Escape Zone The No-Escape Zone is the zone within which there is a high (defined) kill probability against a target even if it has been alerted. This zone is defined as a conical shape with the tip at the missile launch. The cone's length and width are determined by the missile and seeker performance. A missile's speed, range and seeker sensitivity will mostly determine the length of this imaginary cone, while its agility (turn rate) and seeker complexity (speed of detection and ability to detect off axis targets) will determine the width of the cone.

Dogfight[edit] Short-range air-to-air missiles used in "dogfighting" are usually classified into five "generations" according to the historical technological advances. Most of these advances were in infrared seeker technology (later combined with digital signal processing). First generation[edit] Early short-range missiles such as the early Sidewinders and K-13 (missile) (AA-2 Atoll) had infrared seekers with a narrow (30-degree) field of view and required the attacker to position himself behind the target (rear aspect engagement). This meant that the target aircraft only had to perform a slight turn to move outside the missile seeker's field of view and cause the missile to lose track of the target ("break lock").[5] Second generation[edit] Second-generation missiles utilized more effective seekers that improved the field of view to 45 degrees. Third generation[edit] This generation introduced "all aspect" missiles, because more sensitive seekers allowed the attacker to fire at a target which was side-on to itself, i.e. from all aspects not just the rear. This meant that while the field-of-view was still restricted to a fairly narrow cone, the attack at least did not have to be behind the target.[5] Fourth generation[edit] The R-73 (missile)
R-73 (missile)
(AA-11 Archer) entered service in 1985 and marked a new generation of dogfight missile. These missiles employed more advanced seeker technologies such as focal plane arrays that improved resistance to infrared countermeasures (IRCM) such as flares and increased off-bore sight capability to in excess of 60 degrees, i.e. a 120 degree field of view. To take advantage of the increased field-of-view that now exceeded the capabilities of most aircraft radars also meant that helmet mounted sights gained popularity.[6] Many newer missiles include what is known as "look-down-shoot-down" capability, as they could be fired onto low flying planes that would formerly be lost in ground clutter. These missiles are also much more agile, some by employing thrust vectoring (typically gimballed thrust). Fifth generation[edit] The latest generation of short-range missiles again defined by advances in seeker technologies, this time electro-optical imaging infrared (IIR) seekers that allow the missiles to "see" images rather than single "points" of infrared radiation (heat). The sensors combined with more powerful digital signal processing provide the following benefits:[1]

greater infrared counter countermeasures (IRCCM) ability, by being able to distinguish aircraft from infrared countermeasures (IRCM) such as flares. greater sensitivity means greater range and ability to identify smaller low flying targets such as UAVs. more detailed target image allows targeting of more vulnerable parts of aircraft instead of just homing in on the brightest infrared source (exhaust).

Examples of fifth-generation missiles include:

IRIS-T – German lead consortium (2005–) R-73 (missile)
R-73 (missile)
M2 ("AA-11 Archer") – Russia
(1983[7]) R-77
M1 ("AA-12 Adder") – Russia
(1994[8][9]) R-37 (missile)
R-37 (missile)
(Tests were completed in 1989[10][11] In the manufacturing and service there[12]) MICA (missile) – France
(1996–) ASRAAM – UK (1998–) AIM-9X Sidewinder – US (2003–) ASTRA - India Python 5 – Israeli A-Darter
(under development) – South Africa and Brazil PL-12, PL-10 – China AAM-5 (Japanese missile) – Japan AIM-120 AMRAAM
- United States
United States
(1990s-) MBDA Meteor  - European (2000s - under development and starting production)

List of missiles by country[edit]

A K-5 (missile)
K-5 (missile)
air-to-air missile on MiG-19. (Displayed in the Military History Museum and Park in Kecel, Hungary)

For each missile, short notes are given, including an indication of its range and guidance mechanism. Brazil[edit]

MAA-1A Piranha – Short-range IR MAA-1B
Piranha – IR-guided missile. A-Darter – Short-range IR (With South Africa)


AA.20, AA.25 Matra R550 Magic – short-range, IR-guided Matra Magic II – IR-guided missile. Matra R530 – medium-range, IR- or radar-guided Magic Super 530F/Super 530D – medium-range, radar-guided MBDA MICA – medium-range, IR- or active radar-guided MBDA Meteor – long-range active radar-guided missile, to be integrated on Rafale by 2018.[13] PARS 3 LR


Luftwaffe IRIS-T
and Meteor missiles in a Eurofighter Typhoon

Henschel Hs 298 – World War II
World War II
design, MCLOS, never saw service IRIS-T MBDA Meteor
MBDA Meteor
long-range, active radar-guided, pending contract for integration on Eurofighter.[14] Ruhrstahl X-4 – World War II
World War II
design, first practical anti-aircraft missile, MCLOS, never saw service RZ 65 missile project developed by Rheinmetall-Borsig
in 1941. After about 3000 tests it revealed itself unsatisfactory owing to an accuracy of only 15%. The project was terminated by the end of the war.[15]


MBDA Meteor – long-range, active radar homing; designed to complement AMRAAM, MICA IRIS-T – short-range infrared homing; replacement for AIM-9 Sidewinder


Astra Mk.I– Long-range radar-guided K-100 (missile) – Inertial navigation
Inertial navigation
and active radar homing


Fatter – copy of U.S. AIM-9 Sidewinder[16] Sedjil – copy of U.S. MIM-23 Hawk
MIM-23 Hawk
converted to be carried by aircraft[17] Fakour – improved version of U.S. AIM-54 Phoenix
AIM-54 Phoenix


Al Humurrabi – Long-range, semi active radar


Python (missile) Rafael Shafrir – first Israeli domestic AAM Rafael Shafrir 2 – improved Shafrir missile Rafael Python 3 – medium-range IR-homing missile with all aspect capability [2] Rafael Python 4 – medium-range IR-homing missile with HMS-guidance capability [3] Python-5 – improved Python 4 with electro-optical imaging seeker, and 360 degrees lock on. (and launch) [4] Rafael Derby – Also known as the Alto, this is a medium-range, BVR active radar-homing missile [5]


Alenia Aspide – Italian manufactured version of the AIM-7 Sparrow, based on the AIM-7E.


AAM-1 – short-range Type 69 air-to-air missile. copy of U.S. AIM-9B Sidewinder. AAM-2 – short-range AAM-2
air-to-air missile. similar to AIM-4D. AAM-3 – short-range Type 90 air-to-air missile AAM-4 – middle-range Type 99 air-to-air missile AAM-5 – short-range Type 04 air-to-air missile.

People's Republic of China[edit]

PL-1 – PRC version of the Soviet K-5 (missile)
K-5 (missile)
(AA-1 Alkali), retired. PL-2 – PRC version of the Soviet Vympel K-13
Vympel K-13
(AA-2 Atoll), which was based on AIM-9B Sidewinder. [6] Retired & replaced by PL-5
in PLAAF service. PL-3 – updated version of the PL-2, did not enter service. PL-4 – experimental BVR missile based on AIM-7D, did not enter service. PL-6 – updated version of PL-3, also did not enter service. PL-5 – updated version of the PL-2, known versions include: [7]

PL-5A – semi-active radar-homing AAM intended to replace the PL-2, did not enter service. Resembles AIM-9G in appearance. PL-5B – IR version, entered service in 1990s to replace the PL-2
SRAAM. Limited off-boresight PL-5C – Improved version comparable to AIM-9H or AIM-9L in performance PL-5E – All-aspect attack version, resembles AIM-9P in appearance.

PL-7 – PRC version of the IR-homing French R550 Magic
R550 Magic
AAM, did not enter service. [8] PL-8 – PRC version of the Israeli Rafael Python 3 [9] PL-9 – short-range IR-guided missile, marketed for export. One known improved version (PL-9C). [10] PL-10 – semi-active radar-homing medium-range missile based on the HQ-61 SAM, [11] often confused with PL-11. Did not enter service. PL-10/PL-ASR – short-range IR-guided missile PL-11 – medium-range air-to-air missile (MRAAM), based on the HQ-61C & Italian Aspide
(AIM-7) technology. Limited service with J-8-B/D/H fighters. Known versions include: [12]

PL-11 – MRAAM with semi-active radar homing, based on the HQ-61C SAM and Aspide
seeker technology, exported as FD-60 [13] PL-11A – Improved PL-11 with increased range, warhead, and more effective seeker. The new seeker only requires fire-control radar guidance during the terminal stage, providing a basic LOAL (lock-on after launch) capability. PL-11B – Also known as PL-11 AMR, improved PL-11 with AMR-1 active radar-homing seeker. LY-60 – PL-11 adopted for navy ships for air-defense, sold to Pakistan but does not appear to be in service with the Chinese Navy. [14]

(SD-10) – medium-range active radar missile [15]

PL-12A – with upgraded motor PL-12B – with upgraded guidance PL-12C – with foldable tailfins PL-12D – with belly inlet and ramjet motors

F80 – medium-range active radar missile PL-15 – long-range active radar missile TY-90 – light IR-homing air-to-air missile designed for helicopters [16]

Soviet Union/Russian Federation[edit]

K-5 (missile)
K-5 (missile)
( NATO reporting name AA-1 'Alkali') – beam-riding K-8 (missile) K-9 (missile) K-100 (missile) – Inertial navigation
Inertial navigation
and active radar homing Vympel K-13
Vympel K-13
( NATO reporting name AA-2 'Atoll') – short-range IR or SARH Kaliningrad K-8
Kaliningrad K-8
( NATO reporting name AA-3 'Anab') – IR or SARH Raduga K-9
Raduga K-9
( NATO reporting name AA-4 'Awl') – IR or SARH Bisnovat R-4
Bisnovat R-4
( NATO reporting name AA-5 'Ash') – IR or SARH Bisnovat R-40
Bisnovat R-40
( NATO reporting name AA-6 'Acrid') – long-range IR or SARH Vympel R-23/R-24 ( NATO reporting name AA-7 'Apex') – medium-range SARAH or IR Molniya R-60
Molniya R-60
( NATO reporting name AA-8 'Aphid') – short-range IR Vympel R-33 ( NATO reporting name AA-9 'Amos') – long-range active radar Vympel R-27 ( NATO reporting name AA-10 'Alamo') – medium-range SARH or IR Vympel R-73
Vympel R-73
( NATO reporting name AA-11 'Archer') – short-range IR K-74M2 Vympel R-77
( NATO reporting name AA-12 'Adder') – medium-range active radar K-77M Vympel R-37
Vympel R-37
( NATO reporting name AA-X-13 'Arrow') – long-range SARH or active radar Novator KS-172
Novator KS-172
AAM-L – extreme long-range, inertial navigation with active radar for terminal homing

South Africa[edit]

A-Darter – Short-range IR (With Brazil) V3 Kukri – Short-range IR R-Darter – Beyond-visual-range (BVR) radar-guided missile

Republic of China[edit]

Sky Sword I
Sky Sword I
(TC-1) – air-to-air Sky Sword II
Sky Sword II
(TC-2) – air-to-air

United Kingdom[edit]

Fireflash – short-range beam-riding Firestreak – short-range IR Red Top – short-range IR Taildog/SRAAM – short-range IR Skyflash – medium-range radar-guided missile based on the AIM-7E2, said to have quick warm-up times of 1 to 2 seconds. AIM-132 ASRAAM – short-range IR MBDA Meteor – long-range active radar-guided missile, pending contract for integration on Eurofighter Typhoon.[14]

United States[edit]

AIM-4 Falcon – radar (later IR) guided AIM-7 Sparrow – medium-range semi-active radar AIM-9 Sidewinder – short-range IR AIM-26 Falcon AIM-47 Falcon AIM-54 Phoenix – long-range, semi-active and active radar; retired in 2004 AIM-92 Stinger AIM-120 AMRAAM – medium-range, active radar; replaces AIM-7 Sparrow Small Advanced Capabilities Missile
(SACM)[19][20][21][22][23] - Under development

Typical air-to-air missiles[edit]

Weight Rocket Name Country of origin Period of manufacture and use Warhead
weight Warhead
types Range Speed

43.5 kg Molniya R-60  Soviet Union  Russia 1974- 3 kg expanding-rod warhead 8 km Mach 2.7

82.7 kg K-5  Soviet Union  Russia 1957-1977 13 kg High explosive
High explosive
warhead 2–6 km Mach 2.33

86 kg Raytheon AIM-9 Sidewinder  United States 1956- 9.4 kg Annular blast fragmentation 18 km Mach 2.5

87.4 kg Diehl IRIS-T  Germany 2005- 11.4 kg HE/fragmentation 25 km Mach 3

88 kg MBDA AIM-132 ASRAAM  United Kingdom 2002- 10 kg Blast/fragmentation 50 km Mach 3+

89 kg Matra R550 Magic/Magic 2  France 1976-1986 (Magic) 1986- (Magic 2) 12.5 kg Blast/fragmentation 15 km Mach 2.7

105 kg Vympel R-73  Russia 1982- 7.4 kg Fragmentation 20–40 km Mach 2.5

112 kg MBDA MICA-EM/-IR  France 1996- (EM) 2000- (IR) 12 kg Blast/fragmentation (focused splinters HE) > 60 km Mach 4

118 kg Rafael Derby  Israel 1990- 23 kg Blast/fragmentation 50 km Mach 4

152 kg Raytheon AIM-120D AMRAAM  United States 2008 18 kg Blast/fragmentation 160 km Mach 4

152 kg Raytheon AIM-120C AMRAAM  United States 1996 18 kg Blast/fragmentation 105 km Mach 4

152 kg Raytheon AIM-120B AMRAAM  United States 1994- 23 kg Blast/fragmentation 48 km Mach 4

154 kg Astra Missile  India 2010- 15 kg HE fragmentation directional warhead 80-110+ km Mach 4.5+

175 kg Vympel R-77  Russia 1994- 22 kg Blast/fragmentation 200 km Mach 4.5

180 kg PL-12  China 2007-

Active radar homing 70-100+ km Mach 4

185 kg MBDA Meteor  Europe 2016- ? Blast/fragmentation 320 km[24] Mach 4+

220 kg AAM-4  Japan 1999- ? Directional explosive warhead 100+ km Mach 4-5

253 kg R-27  Soviet Union  Russia 1983– 39 kg Blast/fragmentation, or continuous rod 80–130 km Mach 4,5

450–470 kg AIM-54 Phoenix  United States 1974–2004 61 kg High explosive 190 km Mach 5

475 kg R-40  Soviet Union  Russia 1970- 38–100 kg Blast fragmentation 50–80 km Mach 2.2-4.5

490 kg R-33  Soviet Union  Russia 1981- 47.5 kg HE/fragmentation warhead 304 km Mach 4.5-6

600 kg R-37  Soviet Union  Russia 1989- 60 kg HE fragmentation directional warhead 150-400+ km Mach 6

748 kg K-100  Russia 2010- 50 kg HE fragmentation directional warhead 200-400+ km Mach 3.3

See also[edit]

Air-to-air rocket Missile Missile
guidance Guided missile List of missiles Missile


Albert Ball, V. C. Chaz Bowyer. Crecy Publishing, 2002. ISBN 0-947554-89-0, ISBN 978-0-947554-89-7.

Inline citations[edit]

^ Albert Ball
Albert Ball
VC. pp. 90–91.  ^ The History Channel Archived 2009-05-19 at the Wayback Machine. ^ "Atmospheric Effects on Electro-optics". Retrieved 4 November 2014.  ^ Carlo Kopp (Aug 2009). "The Russian Philosophy of BVR Air Combat". Airpower Australia, Retrieved April 2010 ^ a b Carlo Kopp (April 1997). "Fourth Generation AAMs - The Rafael Python 4". Australian Aviation. Retrieved 2007-03-08.  ^ Carlo Kopp (August 1998). "Helmet Mounted Sights and Displays". Air Power International. Retrieved 2007-03-08.  ^ http://rbase.new-factoria.ru/missile/wobb/r73/r73.shtml ^ http://worldweapon.ru/sam/r77.php ^ http://rbase.new-factoria.ru/missile/wobb/r77/r77.shtml ^ http://articles.janes.com/notice.html ^ http://www.testpilot.ru/russia/vympel/r/37/r37.htm ^ http://sputniknews.com/russia/20120124/170929008.html ^ "New Avionics For Gripen, Typhoon And Rafale". Retrieved 4 November 2014.  ^ a b "First Tranche 3 Typhoon Readied For Flight". Retrieved 4 November 2014.  ^ "Allgemeine Luftkampfraketen". Retrieved 4 November 2014.  ^ "Fatter - Jane's Air-Launched Weapons". Retrieved 4 November 2014.  ^ "Sedjil - Jane's Air-Launched Weapons". Retrieved 4 November 2014.  ^ "Iranian F-14 Tomcat's new indigenous air-to-air missile is actually an (improved?) AIM-54 Phoenix
AIM-54 Phoenix
replica". Retrieved 11 February 2015.  ^ https://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/usaf-reveals-slimmed-down-sacm-air-to-air-missile-co-422413/ ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20160901102806/http://www.janes.com/article/57493/raytheon-selected-to-deliver-next-generation-tactical-air-to-air-missile-solutions ^ http://www.upi.com/Business_News/Security-Industry/2016/01/21/Raytheon-to-research-tactical-missile-capabilities/7671453398070/ ^ https://fightersweep.com/4499/sacm-affordable-highly-lethal-missile/ ^ http://www.militaryaerospace.com/articles/2016/01/missiles-technology-research.html ^ "There's No Escaping MBDA's Meteor Missile". Aviation International News. Retrieved 4 November 2014. 

External links[edit]

Air-to-air missile
Air-to-air missile
non-comparison table

v t e

Types of missile

By platform

Cruise missile Air-launched cruise missile
Air-launched cruise missile
(ALCM) Submarine-launched cruise missile
Submarine-launched cruise missile
(SLCM) Air-to-air missile
Air-to-air missile
(AAM) Air-to-surface missile
Air-to-surface missile
(ASM) Surface-to-air missile
Surface-to-air missile
(SAM) Surface-to-surface missile (SSM) Ballistic missile Air-launched ballistic missile
Air-launched ballistic missile
(ALBM) Intercontinental ballistic missile
Intercontinental ballistic missile
(ICBM) Intermediate-range ballistic missile
Intermediate-range ballistic missile
(IRBM) Medium-range ballistic missile
Medium-range ballistic missile
(MRBM) Short-range ballistic missile
Short-range ballistic missile
(SRBM) Tactical ballistic missile Theatre ballistic missile Submarine-launched ballistic missile
Submarine-launched ballistic missile
(SLBM) Standoff missiles Shoulder-fired missile Hypersonic glide vehicle Beyond-visual-range missile
Beyond-visual-range missile

By target type

Anti-ballistic missile
Anti-ballistic missile
(ABM) Anti-satellite weapon
Anti-satellite weapon
(ASAT) Anti-ship ballistic missile (ASBM) Anti-ship missile
Anti-ship missile
(AShM) Anti-submarine missile Anti-tank missile
Anti-tank missile
(ATGM) Land-attack missile (LACM) Man-portable air-defense systems
Man-portable air-defense systems

By guidance

Unguided Radar

altimeter Active radar guidance (ARH) Semi-active radar guidance (SAHR) Passive radar

Passive homing Track-via-missile (TVM) Anti-radiation (ARM) Command guidance Command to line-of-sight guidance
Command to line-of-sight guidance
(CLOS) Command off line-of-sight guidance (COLOS) Manual command to line of sight (MCLOS) Semi-automatic command to line of sight (SACLOS) Automatic Command to Line-Of-Sight (ACLOS) Pursuit guidance Q-guidance Beam riding (LOSBR) Infrared
guidance Laser guidance Wire guidance Satellite guidance Inertial guidance Astro-inertial guidance Terrestrial guidance


Terminal guidance Automatic target recognition
Automatic target recognition
(ATR) Radio guidance TV guidance Contrast seeker Compass Fire-and-forget


List of military rockets List of missiles List of missiles by country List of anti-ship missiles List of anti-tank missiles List of ICBMs List of surface-to-air missiles

See also: Sounding rocket

Links to related articles

v t e

NATO designation for Russian and former Soviet Union
Soviet Union

Air-to-air missiles (complete list)

AA-1 Alkali AA-2 Atoll AA-3 Anab AA-4 Awl AA-5 Ash AA-6 Acrid AA-7 Apex AA-8 Aphid AA-9 Amos AA-10 Alamo AA-11 Archer AA-12 Adder AA-13 Arrow K-74M2 (R-73M) K-77M (R-77M) KS-172

Air-to-surface missiles (complete list)

AS-1 Kennel AS-2 Kipper AS-3 Kangaroo AS-4 Kitchen AS-5 Kelt AS-6 Kingfish AS-7 Kerry AS-8 Kokon AT-6 AS-9 Kyle AS-10 Karen AS-11 Kilter AS-12 Kegler AS-13 Kingbolt AS-14 Kedge AS-15 Kent AS-16 Kickback AS-17 Krypton AS-18 Kazoo AS-X-19 Koala AS-20 Kayak AS-X-21 AS-22 Kh-59MK2S AS-4M Kh-32 AS-23 Kh-38/36 AS-24 Kh-36 AS-25 Kh-50 AS-26 Kh-BD Kh-41 Kh-61 Kh-74M2 "GZUR" Kh-76 (Kinzhal?) Zirkon (Kh-72?) ASM

Anti-tank missiles (complete list)

AT-1 Snapper AT-2 Swatter AT-3 Sagger AT-4 Spigot AT-5 Spandrel AT-6 Spiral AT-7 Saxhorn AT-8 Songster AT-9 Spiral-2 AT-10 Stabber AT-11 Sniper AT-12 Swinger AT-13 Saxhorn-2 АТ-14 Spriggan АТ-15 Springer AT-16 Scallion

Surface-to-air missiles (complete list)

Ground based

SA-1 Guild SA-2 Guideline SA-3 Goa SA-4 Ganef SA-5 Gammon SA-6 Gainful SA-7 Grail SA-8 Gecko SA-9 Gaskin SA-10 Grumble SA-11 Gadfly SA-12 Gladiator/Giant SA-13 Gopher SA-14 Gremlin SA-15 Gauntlet SA-16 Gimlet SA-17 Grizzly SA-18 Grouse SA-19 Grison SA-20 Gargoyle SA-21 Growler SA-22 Greyhound SA-23 Gladiator/Giant SA-24 Grinch SA-25 Morfey S-350E Sosna-R

Naval based

SA-N-1 Goa SA-N-2 Guideline SA-N-3 Goblet SA-N-4 Gecko SA-N-5 Grail SA-N-6 Grumble SA-N-7 Gadfly SA-N-8 Gremlin SA-N-9 Gauntlet SA-N-10 Grouse SA-N-11 Grison SA-N-12 Grizzly SA-N-14 Grouse SA-N-20 Gargoyle Sosna-R


ABM-1 Galosh ABM-3/ 53T6
Gazelle S-500

Surface-to-surface missiles (complete list)

Ground based

SS-1 Scunner/SS-1 Scud
(Scud-A/-B/-C/-D) SS-2 Sibling SS-3 Shyster SS-4 Sandal SS-5 Skean SS-6 Sapwood SS-7 Saddler SS-8 Sasin SS-8B Sasin 2 SS-9 Scarp SS-10 Scrag SS-11 Sego SS-12 Scaleboard SS-X-13 Savage SS-13 Savage SS-14 Scamp/Scapegoat SS-15 Scrooge SS-16 Sinner SS-17 Spanker SS-18 Satan SS-19 Stiletto SS-20 Saber SS-21 Scarab SS-22 Scaleboard SS-23 Spider SS-24 Scalpel SS-25 Sickle SS-26 Stone SS-27 Sickle B SS-28 Saber 2 SS-29 Yars SS-X-30 Satan 2 SS-X-31 Rubezh SS-X-32Zh Barguzin Avangard HGV, Yu-7. 9M730 NRECM

Naval based

SS-N-1 Scrubber SS-N-2 Styx SS-N-3c Shaddock SS-N-3a Shaddock 3b Sepal SS-N-4 Sark SS-N-5 Sark/Serb D-6 D-6M D-7 R-15M SS-N-6 Serb SS-N-7 Starbright SS-N-8 Sawfly SS-N-9 Siren SS-N-12 Sandbox SS-NX-13 Serb SS-N-14 Silex SS-N-15 Starfish SS-N-16 Stallion SS-N-17 Snipe SS-N-18 Stingray SS-N-19 Shipwreck SS-NX-20 Sturgeon SS-N-21 Sampson SS-N-22 Sunburn SS-N-23 Skiff R29RM SS-N-23A Skiff SS-N-23B Skiff SS-NX-24 Scorpion SS-N-25 Switchblade SS-N-26 Strobile SS-N-27 Sizzler SS-N-30A 3M-14 SS-NX-28 SS-N-29 SS-N-32 SS-N-3