Remnants of a rare and deadly Russian R-37M air-to-air missile have been found in Ukraine.
The wreckage of an apparently Russian R-37M very long-range air-to-air missile points to the use of the type against Ukrainian military aircraft without entering their air defense zone.
The R-37M, known to NATO as the AA-13 Axehead, is a modern air-to-air missile with a range of 124 miles. It is a long-range missile intended to destroy various aerial targets (aircraft, cruise missile, helicopter) while the launch pad is not within range of any fighter or anti-aircraft defense unit that could protect the target.
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According to open sources, the R-37M missile guidance system is inertial with radio correction and active radar guidance, which is activated at the end of the missile’s flight path. A two-mode solid fuel engine is used as the propulsion system. Radar-active non-contact and contact target sensors are used as an explosive device. The military part of the rocket is a high explosive explosive.
The wreckage of a spent long-range air-to-air missile R-37M was found by Ukrainian soldiers.
The R-37M is the longest-range missile of its class, not only in the service of the Russian Aerospace Forces, but also in comparison with its global counterparts. pic.twitter.com/l5ZxNC0vWB
— David Kime (@CyberRealms1) February 12, 2023
Weighing in at 1,124 pounds, the missile is similar in size to the R-33 (1,078 pounds), but thanks to its two-pulse solid-propellant rocket motor and optimized flight profile, it achieves nearly twice the range.
Air-to-air missiles R-37M, carried by Su-35S Flanker-E and MiG-31BM Foxhound-C fighters, have become a real challenge for Ukrainian fighter pilots.