Military Wiki

(NATO reporting name: AA-12 Adder)
Type Medium-Range Active-Radar Homing Air-to-Air Missile
Service history
In service 1994 (R-77)
Production history
Manufacturer Vympel
Weight 175 kg (R-77), 226 kg (R-77M1)
Length 3.6 m (R-77)
Diameter 200 mm

Warhead 22 kg [1] HE, fragmenting
laser proximity fuze

Engine Solid fuel rocket motor (R-77), air-breathing ramjet (R-77M1)
Wingspan 350 mm
Strongly varying according to source:
R-77:40 km (21.6 nm)[1] - 50 km (27 nm)[2] - 80 km (43.2 nm)[3]
R-77M1:60 km (32.4 nm)[1] - 80 km (43.2 nm)[4] - 160 km (86 nm)[3]
Flight altitude 5 m-25 km (16.5-82,000 ft)
Speed Mach 4.5 (R-77)
Inertial with mid-course update and terminal active radar homing
Mikoyan MiG-21-93/Lance/Bison, Mikoyan MiG-29, Mikoyan MiG-31, Mikoyan MiG-35, Sukhoi Su-27SM, Sukhoi Su-30, Sukhoi Su-33, Sukhoi Su-34, Sukhoi Su-35, Sukhoi Su-37, Sukhoi Su-47, Yakovlev Yak-141, J-10B
Future Platforms:
Sukhoi PAK FA

The Russian R-77 (RVV-AE) Missile (NATO reporting name: AA-12 Adder) is a medium range, air-to-air, active radar-guided missile system. It is the Russian counterpart to the American AIM-120 AMRAAM missile.[5]


Adder Missile.svg

Work on the R-77 began in 1982. It represented Russia's first multi-purpose missile for both tactical and strategic aircraft for fire-and-forget use against a range of aircraft from hovering helicopters to high speed, low altitude aircraft. Gennadiy Sokolovski, general designer of the Vympel Design Bureau, said that the R-77 missile can be used against medium and long range air-to-air missiles such as the AIM-120 AMRAAM and AIM-54 Phoenix, as well as SAMs such as the Patriot. It can be used against cruise missiles and precision-guided munitions (PGMs). First seen in 1992 at the MosAeroshow '92, the R-77RVV-AE was immediately nicknamed Amraamski by Western journalists. The Russian-language version of the acronym for the weapon is RVV-AE and it is also known as the Izdieliye-170 (Product-170).[citation needed]

The R-77 can be used by most of the Russian Air force fighter aircraft, since many of their aircraft, primarily MiG-29, Su-27 and MiG-31, were upgraded recently[when?]. The same is true for the PLAAF of China, who use the Su-27 as well as a copy, the J-11. The newer Su-30MKK has a N001 (Su-27 radar) with a digital bypass channel incorporating a mode allowing it to use R-77s. Newer Russian aircraft from the MiG-29S (N019M radar) onward are not restricted in this regard.[citation needed]

There are other variants under development. One has an upgraded motor to boost range at high altitudes to as much as 120–160 km; it is known as the R-77RVV-AE-PD. The 'PD' stands for Povyshenoy Dalnosti, which in Russian means "improved range". This variant has been test-fired and uses a solid-fuel ramjet engine. Its range puts it in the long-range class and is equivalent in range to the AIM-54 Phoenix. In another version of the R-77, a terminal infra-red homing seeker is offered. This is in line with the Russian practice of attacking targets by firing pairs of missiles with different homing systems. This complicates end-game defensive actions for the target aircraft, as it needs to successfully defeat two homing systems. This method of attack may not always be available as IR seekers typically have less range and less resistance to poor weather than radar seekers, which may limit the successful use of mixed seeker attacks unless the IR missile is initially directed by radar or some other means.[6][7]

The weapon has a laser fuze and an expanding rod warhead that can destroy the variable sized targets. A product-improvement of the R-77 Adder is in the works, codenamed the R-77M1, and will feature a ramjet propulsion device. This heavier missile system will have a much greater range, and will surely be the primary beyond visual range (BVR) air-to-air weapon in upcoming fifth generation Russian frontline fighters[which?].[citation needed]

The radar-guided R-77 has been sold widely, with China and India placing significant orders for the weapon, as was the case for the R-73. The baseline R-77 was designed in the 1980s, with development complete by around 1994. India was the first export customer for the export variant, known as the RVV-AE, with the final batch delivered in 2002.[8][9]

Vympel did not have adequate funding during the 1990s and the first part of the following decade to support further evolution of the R-77, either for the Russian air force or the export market. The basic version of the R-77 is not thought to have entered the Russian air force inventory in significant numbers.[citation needed]

Additionally, Western suppliers have been pushing into some traditionally Russian markets and some major customers of the R-77 such as India and China have been pursuing their own missile programs, with similar goals, such as the Astra and the PL-12, respectively.[citation needed]

Further Development

Tactical Missile Corp., also known as TRV, unveiled its so-called RVV-SD and RVV-MD missiles for the first time at the Moscow air show in August 2009. The RVV-SD is an improved version of the R-77 (AA-12 Adder), while the RVV-MD is a variant of the R-73 (AA-11 Archer).[10]

The RVV-SD, along with the RVV-MD, seem to be part of Russia's bid for India's medium multirole combat aircraft competition. Both designations were included by MiG on a presentation covering MiG-35 Fulcrum armament during Aero India Air Show in February.

The basic R-77 is known as the Article 170, and the RVV-SD includes the upgrades associated with the Article 170-1 designation. The 170-1 development has been underway for some time[vague] , and testing is believed[by whom?] to have been carried out. The RVV-SD is in effect the export variant of the 170-1.

According to specifications, this missile is 15 kg (33 lb) heavier than the basic R-77/RVV-AE, weighing 190 kg (420 lb) rather than 175 kg (386 lb). Maximum range is increased to 110 km (68 mi) from 80 km (50 mi). The missile is also slightly longer at 3.71 metres (12.2 ft), rather than the 3.6 metres (12 ft) of the basic variant.

Its radar seeker has also probably been upgraded. Russian missile manufacturer Agat previously confirmed it was working on seeker upgrades for the R-77, implying that at least two projects were underway, one for export and one for the Russian air force.[citation needed]

Vympel—which originally designed the R-77, and is now part of TRV—is also working on a more extensive upgrade of the missile than the 170-1. This project is designated the Article 180, and is in effect a mid-life upgrade for the weapon. This upgrade aims to provide a further improvement in range, with the design including a dual-pulse motor configuration. Moving from the R-77's signature lattice fin configuration to a conventional fin is also part of this program.[citation needed]

The initial RVV-MD offering is likely no more than a stopgap to try to maintain its position, and to provide a credible radar-guided weapon to offer as part of fighter export packages and upgrade programs.

Russian industry sources[which?] indicate that both the RVV-SD and RVV-MD will have folding fins to allow for internal carriage. This at least suggests the Russian air force may be keeping its options open should it acquire the domestic variants of these upgrades to include them in the weapons inventory of its fifth-generation fighter, known as PAK-FA. India is a partner in the PAK-FA project, and the internal carriage modification may also have been performed with this in mind.


The aerodynamics are novel, combining vestigial cruciform wings with grid fins used as tail control surfaces (similar devices are used on the R-400 Oka). Each surface consists of a metal frame containing a blade-like grid assembly which combines a greater control area, and thus lifting force, with reduced weight and size. The development for this control concept took three years of theoretical work and testing. Referred to by the Russians as gas dynamic declination devices, these surfaces require less powerful actuators than conventional fins, and have a lower RCS. The flow separation which occurs at high angles of attack enhances its turning ability, giving the missile a maximum turn rate of up to 150º per second.

Seeker Head of Vympel R-77 at 2009 MAKS Airshow

The missile uses a multi-function doppler-monopulse active radar seeker developed by OAO Agat.[11] The radar features two modes of operation, over short distances, the missile will launch in an active "fire and forget" mode. Over longer distances the missile is controlled by an inertial auto pilot with occasional encoded data link updates from the launch aircraft's radar on changes in spatial position or G of the target. As the missile comes within 20 km (12.42 mi) of its target, the missile switches to its active radar mode. The host radar system maintains computed target information in case the target breaks the missile's lock-on.

RVV-AE (right)


  •  Algeria
  •  Bangladesh
  •  People's Republic of China
  •  India[4]
  •  Malaysia[12]
  •  Peru
  •  Russia serial samples of RVV-AE were not purchased[13]
  •  Indonesia[14]
  •  Venezuela
  •  Vietnam used on Sukhoi Su-30MK2V[15]

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Waffen der MiG". Retrieved 2013-01-12. 
  2. John Pike. "AA-12 ADDER R-77". Retrieved 2013-01-12. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 "AA-12 AMRAAMski / R-77 RVV FAMILY | Russian Military Analysis". Retrieved 2013-01-12. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 /Air-to-Air-Missiles/R-77_a001032001.aspx
  5. "Federation of American Scientists - "AA-12 ADDER R-77"". Retrieved 2006-08-19. 
  6. "Heat Seeking Missile Guidance". Retrieved 2010-04-10. 
  7. Dr Carlo Kopp, SMAIAA, SMIEEE, PEng (2012-08-21). "PLA Air to Air Missiles". Retrieved 2013-01-12. 
  8. "R-77 (AA-12) Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile". 2008-10-20. Retrieved 2013-01-12. 
  9. "International Assessment and Strategy Center > Research > PLAAF Equipment Trends". 2001-10-30. Retrieved 2013-01-12. 
  10.[dead link]
  11. "OAO Agat Website". Retrieved 2008-01-11. 
  12. "Russia Signs $35-Mln Missile Contract with Malaysia". Retrieved 2012-10-28. 
  13. "п·п░п· б╚п п╬я─п©п╬я─п╟я├п╦я▐ п╒п╟п╨я┌п╦я┤п╣я│п╨п╬п╣ п═п╟п╨п╣я┌п╫п╬п╣ п▓п╬п╬я─я┐п╤п╣п╫п╦п╣б╩". Retrieved 2013-01-12. 
  14. 2011 Annual Report of Tactical Missile Corporation,


  • Gordon, Yefim (2004). Soviet/Russian Aircraft Weapons Since World War Two. Hinckley, England: Midland Publishing. ISBN 1-85780-188-1. 

External links

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