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AGAT unveils dual-mode seeker for AA-X-13 AAM

RUSSIAN MISSILE-seeker designer AGAT has revealed its dual-mode active/ semi-active radar seeker initially designed for the R-37 (AA-X-13) long-range air-to-air missile, successor to the Vympel R-33 (AA-9 Amos).

The design bureau says that it started work on the seeker in the mid-1980s, with a first air-launched test in 1989. The R-37 would form the primary armament of the Mikoyan MiG-31M Foxhound B.

AGAT is unwilling to discuss its status, beyond admitting that funding is proving a problem. At least two MIG-31Ms and associated systems are under trial at the Russian air force's test site at Ahktubinsk, but there is scepticism about whether the aircraft will enter service with the air-defence forces. Combat readiness in air-defence units is generally poor, with little funding available.

AGAT confirms that its seeker has been used successfully in a trial launch of an R-37 with an interception of over 300km (160nm). It says that using dual-mode guidance provides greater resistance to electronic countermeasures when both modes are used in terminal engagement. In the semi-active mode the radar target illumination can be terminated by the pilot at a predetermined point when the missile's active seeker is within acquisition range. AGAT declines to provide exact figures on the seeker's acquisition range, but says that it is "considerably in excess of 25km".

Although the seeker may never enter service as part of the MIG-31M weapons suite, there appears to remain an air force requirement for a long-range missile for other air-superiority aircraft.

One senior AGAT official suggests that if Sukhoi has no objections to a 450kg missile on the Su-27M, then the R-37 could be integrated on this aircraft.

St Petersburg-based Radar has shown its ARGS-35 planner array active-radar seeker for the Zvezda Kh-35 (AS-20 Kayak) anti-ship missile for the first time. Originally developed as a ship-launched weapon, the Kh-35 is now being offered on several airborne platforms. The prime integration effort, however, is likely to be on Kamov maritime-patrol helicopters such as the Ka-32 Helix.

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