Moscow military expert – Israeli ‘Pythons’ won’t Make Vietnam’s Air Force Any Better

‘Waste of Money’: Will Israeli ‘Pythons’ Make Vietnam’s Air Force Any Better?

17:04 17.02.2017(updated 17:42 17.02.2017)

A Vietnamese online paper recently published an article, whose author tries to justify the need to arm the country’s Russian-made Su-27/30 fighters and Su-22 fighter-bombers with Israeli-made Python-5 air-to-air missiles.

The author writes, citing information provided by the Stockholm-based International Peace Research Institute, that an unspecified number of Python-5 missiles have been supplied to Vietnam for use by the country’s Israeli-made Spyder-SR short and medium range mobile air defense system, and that some of these missiles can be installed on Soviet and Russian made warplanes.

In an interview with Sputnik, Moscow-based military expert and a seasoned Air Force pilot Makar Aksyonenko said that even though the Pytnon-5 missile is a versatile weapon currently used by missile defense systems and Israeli F-15, F-16 and Kfir fighter jets, it’s characteristics are equal to the R-73 missiles found on the Su-27 and Su-30 [planes and notably inferior to Russia’s latest R-73M and R-74 missiles.

“The R-73M heat-seeking missile has greater range and can ‘see’ targets to 60° off the missile’s centerline. It can also be backward fired at an enemy plane attacking from behind and targeted by a helmet-mounted sight allowing pilots to designate targets by looking at them, which is vital during highly maneuverable dogfights,” he said.

The R-73M missile is also used by MiG-29 and MiG-31fighters, Mi-24 and Ka-52 land- and ship-based helicopter gunships.

“This means that the Israeli missile is in no way better than ours,” Aksyonenko added.

He also mentioned the problems that could arise when adapting foreign-made missiles for use on the Sukhoi fighters.

“Any unauthorized use of non-standard weapons on Su-27/30 fighters, and attempts to upgrade them is fraught with serious breakups and the manufacturer’s refusal to service them any further.”

Makar Aksyonenko noted that maximum reliance on standard-issue weapons and their latest versions used in Russia would be the best way to go.

“In a word, any attempts to arm Su planes with foreign-made weapons are just a waste of money with very questionable results. This would hardly help improve the combat capability of the Vietnamese Air Force,” he emphasized.

Original post



Full Sphere IR Air-to-Air Missile


Python-5 is a fifth generation air-to-air missile and the latest member of the Python family. The missile provides the pilot engaging an enemy aircraft with a revolutionary full sphere launch capability. Python-5 can be launched from a very short range to beyond visual range with greater probability of kill and excellent resistance to countermeasures. The missile is also offered in an air defense configuration.

  • Full sphere launch envelope from very short to beyond visual ranges
  • Excellent acquisition and tracking performance
  • Target Lock-On-Before and After Launch capability
  • Excellent resistance to countermeasures
  • Greater probability of kill


R-73M short range air-to-air missile


The R-73 short-range, close-combat standardized missile was developed in the Vympel Machine Building Design Bureau, and became operational in 1984. The R-73 is included in the weapon complex of MiG-23MLD, MiG-29 and Su-27 fighters and their modifications and also of Mi-24, Mi-28 and Ka-50 helicopters. It also can be employed in flying craft which do not have sophisticated aiming systems.

The missile is used for engaging modern and future fighters, attack aircraft, bombers, helicopters, drones and cruise missiles, including those executing a maneuver with a g-force up to 12. It permits the platform to intercept a target from any direction, under any weather conditions, day or night, in the presence of natural interference and deliberate jamming. It realizes the “fire and forget” principle.

The missile design features a canard aerodynamic configuration: control surfaces are positioned ahead of the wing at a distance from the center of mass. The airframe consists of modular compartments accommodating the homing head, aerodynamic control surface drive system, autopilot, proximity fuze, warhead, engine, gas-dynamic control system and aileron drive system. The lifting surfaces have a small aspect ratio. Strakes are mounted ahead of the aerodynamic control surfaces.


The combined aero-gas-dynamic control gives the R-73 highly maneuverable flight characteristics. During flight, yaw and pitch are controlled by four aerodynamic control surfaces connected in pairs and by just as many gas-dynamic spoilers (fins) installed at the nozzle end of the engine. Control with engine not operating is provided by aerodynamic control surfaces. Roll stabilization of the missile is maintained with the help of four mechanically interconnected ailerons mounted on the wings. Drives of all missile controls are gas, powered from a solid-propellant gas generator.

The passive infrared homing head supports target lock-on before launch. Guidance to the predicted position is by the proportional navigation method. The missile’s combat equipment consists of an active proximity (radar or laser) fuze and impact fuze and a continuous-rod warhead.


The engine operates on high-impulse solid propellant and has a high-tensile steel case. Russia’s Vympel weapons designers have developed a one-of-a-kind air-to-air missile, which NATO has dubbed as AA-11, for use on foreign fighter planes. Techically and militarily the new missile, meant for quick-action dogfights, leave its foreign analogues far behind. Vympel experts have also made it possible for the new missile to be easily installed on all available types of aircraft. The AA-11 can also be used on older planes which will now be able to effectively handle the US’ highly maneuverable F-15 and F-16 jets. The AA-11 missile is based on all-new components, use new high-energy solid fuel and an advanced guidance and control system which has made it possible to minimize their size. Their exceptionally high accuracy is ensured by the missile’s main secret, the so-called transverse control engine, which rules out misses during the final approach trajectory. The transverse control engine is still without parallel in the world.


Russia has offered the export-version R-7EE air-to-air missile system for sale so that it can be fitted to foreign-made fighter aircraft. Developed by the Vympel state-sector engineering and design bureau, the R-7EE is designed for close-quarters aerial combat. Vympel specialists have developed a way of ensuring that the missile system can be fitted to virtually any type of aircraft. It can be fitted to older aircraft, which feature heavily in third-world countries’ air forces.

Contractor Vympel
Date Deployed 1980s
Range 20 km (R-73M1)  30 km (R-73M2) 40 km
Speed Mach 2.5
Propulsion One solid-propellant rocket motor
Guidance All aspect Infrared
Warhead 7.4 kg HE expanding rod warhead
Launch Weight 105 kg (R-73M1)  115 kg (R-73M2)
Length 2.9 m
Diameter 170 mm
Fin Span 0.51 m
Platforms Su-27, Su-33, Su-34, Su-35, Su-37, MiG-29, MiG-31, MiG-33, Yak-141, Ka-50, Ka-52

Data Images sourced from the net

K-74M2 (izdeliye 760)

Short-range missile is the infrared-homing (“heat seeking”) K-74M2 (izdeliye 760), an upgraded R-74 variant with reduced cross-section for internal carriage – Image:

For the PAK FA, Vympel is developing two new missiles based on R-73/R-74 technology. The first of these is izdeliye 760. Based on the K-74M, this is intended to match the performance of the MBDA Advanced Short-Range Air-to-Air Missile (ASRAAM) and the Raytheon AIM-9X Sidewinder. It will have an improved IR seeker, an inertial control system, a datalink receiver for target updates and an advanced rocket motor with a longer burn time. To make the missile suitable for internal carriage, its cross-section will be reduced to 320×320 mm.

Short-range missile is the infrared-homing (“heat seeking”) K-74M2 (izdeliye 760), an upgraded R-74 variant with reduced cross-section for internal carriage – Image:

To maximise the weapon’s coverage, it can be fired in lock-on-after-launch (LOAL) mode, starting under inertial control before achieving in-flight lock-on. It will be able to engage targets up to 160ⅹ from the aircraft’s heading.

According to a Vympel representative, izdeliye 760 is about to begin flight tests. Development is due to be completed in 2010.

The follow-on K-MD (izdeliye 300) is intended to outperform the ASRAAM and AIM-9X. Although it will draw on the experience gained with the R-73/R-74 series, for most practical purposes it will be an all-new missile.

Its guidance system will be based on a new IR seeker incorporating a focal-plane array (FPA). This will have more than twice the lock-on range of the izdeliye 760 seeker, a high resistance to countermeasures and a target-recognition capability. Source


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