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KS-172 NTW - 94.jpg
Mockup of KS–172 in front of Su-30 in 1994
Type Long range air-to-air missile
Place of origin Russia and India
Production history
Manufacturer NPO Novator & DRDO
Weight 748 kg (1,650 lb) (KS–172)[1]
Length 6.01 m (19.7 ft) + 1.4 m (4.6 ft) (KS–172)[1]
Diameter 40 cm (16 in) (KS–172)[1]

Warhead HE fragmentation (KS–172)[1]
Warhead weight 50 kg (110 lb)

Engine Solid-propellant tandem rocket booster (KS–172)[1]
Wingspan 61 cm (24 in) (KS–172)[1]
At least 200 km,[2] possibly 300–400 km (160–210 nmi)
Flight altitude 3 m (9.8 ft)–30,000 m (98,000 ft) (KS–172)[1]
Speed 4,000 km/h (2,500 mph; 1.1 km/s; Mach 3.3) (KS–172)[1]
inertial navigation with midcourse guidance and terminal active radar homing (KS–172)[1]
Su-27, Su-30, Su-35,[3] Su-30MKI[1] Su-57 (expected)

The Novator KS-172 is a Russian air-to-air missile designed as an "AWACS killer"[4] at ranges up to 400 km. The missile has had various names during its troubled history, including K-100, Izdeliye 172 ('project 172'), AAM-L (RVV-L), KS–172, KS-1, 172S-1 and R-172. The airframe appears to have been derived from the 9K37 Buk surface-to-air missile (SAM) but development stalled in the mid-1990s for lack of funds.[4] It appears to have restarted in 2004 after a deal with India, who wants to produce the missile in India for their Su-30MKI fighters. It is the heaviest air-to-air missile ever produced.

Development[edit | edit source]

Modern airforces have become dependent on airborne radars typically carried by converted airliners and transport aircraft such as the E-3 Sentry and A-50 'Mainstay'. They also depend on similar aircraft for inflight refuelling (e.g. Vickers VC10), maritime patrol (e.g. CP-140 Aurora), reconnaissance and electronic warfare (e.g. Tu-16 'Badger' E & J) and C4ISTAR (e.g. VC-25 "Air Force One"). The loss of just one of these aircraft can have a significant effect on fighting capability, and they are usually heavily defended by fighter escorts. A long-range air-to-air missile offers the prospect of bringing down the target without having to fight a way through the fighter screen. Given the potential importance of "blinding" Western AWACS, Russia has devoted considerable resources to this area. The R-37 (missile) (AA-13 'Arrow') is an evolution of their R-33 (AA-9 'Amos') with a range of up to 400 km (220 nmi), and there have been persistent rumours – if little hard evidence – of an air-to-air missile with a range of 200 km (110 nmi) based on Zvezda's Kh-31 anti-radar/anti-shipping missile or its Chinese derivative, the YJ-91.

NPO Novator started work in 1991 on a very long-range air-to-air missile with the Russian project designation Izdeliye 172.[3] Initially called the AAM-L (RVV-L), it made its first public appearance at the International Defence Exhibition in Abu Dhabi in early 1993,[5] followed by the Moscow Air Show later that year.[3] It was described as having a range of 400 km (220 nmi); the mockup on display had a strong resemblance to the 9K37M1 Buk-M (SA-11 'Gadfly'). Apparently some flight-testing was done on a Su-27, but it appears that the Russians withdrew funding for the project soon afterwards.

The missile resurfaced as the KS–172 in 1999,[5] as part of a new export-led strategy[6] whereby foreign investment in a 300 km (160 nmi)-range export model[5] would ultimately fund a version for the Russian airforce.[6] Again it appears that there were no takers.

In late 2003, the missile was offered again on the export market as the 172S-1.[3] In March 2004, India was reported to have invested in the project and to be "negotiating a partnership" to develop the "R-172".[7] In May 2005 the Indians were said to have finalised "an arrangement to fund final development and licence produce the weapon" in a joint venture similar to that which produced the successful BrahMos cruise missile.[8] Since then the missile has had a higher profile, appearing at the 2005 Moscow Air Show[3] on a Su-30 as the K-172,[4] and a modified version being shown at the 2007 Moscow Air Show designated as the K-100-1. This name first appeared in a Sukhoi document in 2006,[3] and sources such as Jane's now refer to the missile as the K-100.[3]

Design[edit | edit source]

9B-1103M Seeker head

The mockup shown in 1993 had a strong resemblance to the Buk airframe, but since the Indians became involved there have been some changes. An Indian magazine gave the specifications of the KS–172 in April 2004 as a core 6.01 m long and 40 cm in diameter with a wingspan of 61 cm, with a booster of 1.4 m, and 748 kg total weight.[1] It had a solid fuel tandem rocket booster capable of speeds up to 4,000 km/h (2,500 mph), 12g manoevring, and an adaptive HE fragmentation warhead.[1] Development would concentrate on the seeker head, autopilot, resistance to jamming and a steering system with 3D thrust vector control (TVC).[1]

In May 2005 it was reported that there were two versions, with and without a rocket booster, with ranges of 400 km and 300 km respectively.[8] At the MAKS (air show) in August 2005, a range of 300 km was quoted for a streamlined missile with a small booster and fins on both booster and fuselage.[4] However the model shown at the 2007 MAKS airshow under the name K-100 was closer to the original 1993 mockup in the photo above, with different-shaped fins that were further up the fuselage, and an even larger booster with TVC vents.[9] At the same show it was shown under the wing of a Su-35BM, implying that at least two could be carried by Flanker-class aircraft rather than just one on the centreline.

Guidance is by inertial navigation until the missile is close enough to the target to use active radar for terminal homing.[1] The K-100 has an enlarged (350 mm (14 in)) derivative of the Agat 9B-1103M seeker used in the R-27 (air-to-air missile) (AA-10 'Alamo').[2] It has a lock-on range of 40 km (22 nmi), described by an Agat designer as "one fifth or less of the overall range".[2]

Variant[edit | edit source]

  • KS-172

Sketch-of-KS-172-missile 1993.svg

Prototype in 1993.
  • KS-172S-1

Sketch-of-KS-172S1-missile 2003.svg

Prototype in 2003.

Similar weapons[edit | edit source]

  • R-37 (missile) (AA-X-13/AA-13 'Arrow') was developed from the R-33 (missile) (AA-9 'Amos') and is intended for the Sukhoi Su-35 Flanker-E, Sukhoi Su-37 Flanker-F, MiG 1.42 MFI and other future fighters.[8] According to Defence Today the range depends on the flight profile, from 80 nautical miles (150 km) for a direct shot[8] to 215 nautical miles (398 km) for a cruise glide profile.[8] Jane's reports two variants, the R-37 and the R-37M; the latter has a jettisonable rocket booster that increases the range to "300-400km" (160–220nmi).[3] Work on the missile appears to have restarted in late 2006,[3] as part of the MiG-31BM programme[3] to update the Foxhound with a new radar and ground attack capability.
  • Kh-31 (AS-17 'Krypton') – the Chinese have licensed the anti-radar version (Kh-31P) of this Russian air-to-surface missile, and may be working on an "AWACS killer" variant of their YJ-91 derivative.[8] The Russians claim the anti-shipping version, the Kh-31A, can be adapted for use as an AWACS killer.[8]
  • AIM-54 Phoenix – Now retired, a 100 nautical miles (190 km)-range missile that was carried by the US Navy's F-14 Tomcat.
  • AIM-97 Seekbat - based on the Standard Missile SAM, the Seekbat was an extremely long-ranged missile designed to shoot down the MiG-25 Foxbat, which at the time had almost mythical performance estimates. When the real-world performance of the Foxbat was found to be dramatically less impressive, development was cancelled.

Users[edit | edit source]

  •  Russian Federation
  •  India

See also[edit | edit source]

Notes and references[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 "India Starts Defence Exports : Joint Ventures Now yielding rich Dividends". Arun Vihar, India. April 2004. p. 55. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Johnson, Reuben F (2007-07-11). "Russia develops K-100-1 for Su-35". 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 3.8 3.9 "K-100 (Izdeliye 172, KS–172, AAM-L)". 2009-01-12. Archived from the original on 13 September 2008. https://web.archive.org/web/20080913201455/http://www.janes.com/extracts/extract/jalw/jalw3024.html.  Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "Janes" defined multiple times with different content
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Fisher, Richard (2005-09-12). "Chinese Dimensions of the 2005 Moscow Aerospace Show". International Assessment and Strategy Center. Archived from the original on 19 June 2015. https://web.archive.org/web/20150619174407/http://www.strategycenter.net/research/pubID.78/pub_detail.asp. Retrieved 2009-01-29. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Saradzhyan, Simon; Barrie, Douglas (1999-08-16). "Russia Offers Extended Range Missile For Export". p. 8. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 Battilega (2000). "Transformations in Global Defense Markets and Industries: Implications for the Future of Warfare – Russia". National Intelligence Council. p. 12. Archived from the original on 14 January 2009. https://web.archive.org/web/20090114053017/http://www.dni.gov/nic/PDF_GIF_research/defensemkts/russia.pdf. Retrieved 2009-01-29. 
  7. PTI (2004-03-02). "India, Russia in talks for a new missile". Times of India. India. http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2004-03-02/india/28344543_1_new-missile-supersonic-cruise-missile-brahmos-missile. Retrieved 2009-01-29. 
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.5 8.6 "Missiles in the Asia Pacific". Amberley, Queensland: Strike Publications. May 2005. p. 67. Archived from the original on 26 January 2009. https://web.archive.org/web/20090126154153/http://ausairpower.net/DT-Missile-Survey-May-05.pdf. 
  9. See photos in "External links" section

External links[edit | edit source]

  • sukhoi.ru – unofficial site with photos from MAKS air show; photos 10,12 and 13 show the K-100 on the ground of which maks2007d1013.jpg is perhaps the best.

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