A prototype MAPO/Sokol MiG-21-93 upgrade has shot down an aerial target with a beyond-visual-range Vympel RVV-AE missile (R-77/AA-12 Adder). The active radar-guided RVV-AE and Phazotron Kopyo (Spear) lightweight multimode radar are key elements of the MiG-21-93 upgrade being developed for Indian air force aircraft.
A subsonic target was destroyed in a direct hit by the RVV-AE, which was fitted with a telemetry package in place of the warhead. The launch was made at 12km (6nm) in a head-on engagement. The target was at 20,000ft (6,100m) and the fighter at 13,000ft. The test was intended to include two firings, the second with an armed missile, but its launch was cancelled following destruction of the target.
The Kopyo radar has a 57km detection range against a 5m² (54ft²) radar cross section, or fighter-sized target. It can track eight targets and shoot at two simultaneously. A target shoot down using the Vympel R-73 (AA-11 Archer) infrared-guided short-range air-to-air missile was completed in April. Test firings of the Vympel R-27 (AA-10 Alamo) semi-active radar air-to-air missile and Zvezda Kh-25MP (AS-12 Kegler) anti-radar missile are planned.
Alexander Manucharov, MAPO chief designer and the MiG-21-93 programme leader says that about half the planned test flights have been completed, while the development and evaluation programme is on schedule. Manucharov expresses concern about the low reliability of avionics components supplied by Indian industry.
Meanwhile, Peru has ordered 30 RVV-AEs. Design bureau Vympel, which normally builds only prototype weapons, says the low production volume means it will build the missiles. Peru acquired second-hand MAPO MiG-29 Fulcrums from Belarus in 1995, and later signed a maintenance contract with MAPO that includes an upgrade to carry the long-range missile.