K-13 (R-3, R-13) AAM

The K-13 is based on Taiwanese AIM-9B's recovered from China. Quite a few AIM-9B missiles did not hit or self-destruct, and landed on Chinese soil. Almost all elements of three rockets were collected this way.
Also there was the AIM-9B that hit a MiG-15 and, failing to detonate, was brought back impaled in the aircraft.

In November 1958 experts from OKB-134 (then led by Toporov) were sent to China to look at the recovered missiles. OKB-134 were charged with copying the new AAM, and China sent the missiles and parts they had recovered to OKB-134 and, after some stalling, the vital IR seeker. In return, agreements were made to pool the knowledge gained with China.

Unlike with the B-29 and V-2, OKB-134 were not directed to simply copy the AIM-9B in every detail. However, the densely packed yet simple design of the missile contrasted greatly with OKB-134's own experimental designs, which had been larger, more complex and far less reliable.

The AIM-9B's solid-fuel motor was beyond the state of the art in the USSR of the late 50s, so a less effective indigenous design was substituted. In addition, the IR seeker could also not be copied directly and was instead given to two rival research institutes who each designed a seeker "inspired" by that of the AIM-9B. The winning design was the TGS-13 by NI-569 (Geofizika).

On December 8 1959 the K-13 made its first kill, shooting down a pilotless MiG-15. Subsequent tests were encouraging enough that in February, 2, 1960 the go-ahead for production was given, though the achieved range was short of expectation.

K-13A was designed for mass production and had an improved onboard battery allowing an increase in range to 7.6km. Startup time of the production missile was increased to 22 seconds from the 11 seconds of the AIM-9B and early K-13 to ease manufacture.

In May 1961 full documentation and several sample missiles were sent to China in fulfillment of the initial agreement.

K-13A was officially accepted into service on 2nd March 1962 as the R-3S.

K-13VV was a simplified design for mass production during wartime. K-13V was designed for high-altitude interceptions of US spyplanes. Neither entered service. R-3R, a SARH version of K-13, did enter service but was not especially successful.

Meanwhile, the Vietnam war gave the USSR access to more Sidewinder technology in the form of the AIM-9D. This was a Navy Sidewinder, with a nitrogen-cooled PbS seeker, and it proved generally more effective than the USAF AIM-9E with a peltier cooled seeker (Interestingly, the R-60M used peltier cooling). After examination of captured examples, on 28th November 1967 the K-13M project and its associated Iney-70 nitrogen-cooled PbS seeker were launched.

By the time it entered service as the R-13M in January 1974 it had gained the uncaging capability and wider seeker angle of the AIM-9G/H, perhaps indicating that an AIM-9G/H was also captured at a later date, perhaps explaining the lengthy development process.

R-13M1 was the final version, designed from 1974 possibly as a fallback to the more radical K-14 project. It gained the double-delta canards of the AIM-9J (probably derived from an AIM-9J stolen from South Korea) and an improved Iney-M seeker. It entered service sometime around 1976, and represented a combination of US Navy AIM-9G/H guidance technology with the improved manouverability of the USAF AIM-9J.

Quoting a older posting of mine from acig.org.

The R-13M1 seems to have been quite rare in service. I can't find many photos of it at all. Can anyone elaborate on why? The missile seems more advanced than the R-60M, and 1976 is about 10 years before the R-73 entered service.
In 1962, the Iraqi air force received its first batch of air to air missiles, they were the soviet RS-2US (NATO code name AA-1 Alkali), which was extremely non popular within the ranks of Iraqi pilots. After that arrived the first batches of R-3S Infrared missiles which were a little bit better since they adopted the principal of launch and leave. However the restrictions imposed on the launching aircraft and the target made this missile a source of annoyance to Iraqi pilots who preferred using the aircraft guns to using a missile which had 2.75G limit on the carrier aircraft, while it was common to perform 8G manoeuvre with the MiG-21.
In 1974 the first batches of R-13M started arriving and may Iraqi pilots found this missile a better weapon. To their disappointment the newly arrived MiG-23MS were equipped with the old R-3S missiles.
In 1978 the Iraqi air force withdrew the R-3S from the service with the Iraqi MiG-21 fleet although it remained in service with the Mig-23MS squadron. Early 1980 the Iraqis started equipping with Mig-21bis aircrafts and along with them came the R-60M.
During the war with Iran the basic formation for the Mig-21and 23 were two ship formation. Each aircraft would be equipped with three drop tanks, one centreline and two in the wing. Each Mig-21 aircraft carried two R-13M missiles in the wing, the Mig-23 carried R-3S. Iraqi pilots were ordered to launch a single missile towards the Iranian aircrafts which were mostly flying at less than 30 meters of height. There weren’t that number of air to air clashes between the two sides. There was a record of one air battle in which the Iraqi pilots used the Gsh-23 to shoot down an F-4E phantom. The Iraqi air defence decided that the airspace over Baghdad is free for all AD ground weapons, no Iraqi aircraft was allowed to trespass over the Iraqi capital and no air battle occurred over it.

Ahmad Rushdi, acig.org forum
When I said earlier that the K-13 was used in limited air to air battles during the war with iran i was refferring to the R-3S which was in my opinion a very limited missile in its capability and with a technology of the 1960s.
the R-13M was a much capable missile and it scored a large number of air to air kills against Iranian F-4E, F-5 and F-14.
Ahmad - did the Iraqis use the R-60/R-60M much? How did it compare to the R-3S/R-13M?

According to Fedosov of GosNIAAS, the R-60M could be locked on at +-45 degrees, the same as the R-73, and it had a limited front aspect capability.
Everybody was happy with the R-60, the pilots because they could launch it under G which was important during dogfights and the maintenance crew, because the missile needed no maintenance! Compare that with elaborate checks needed for the R-13M using a complex called ANKOL.

On August 11, 1984 an Iraqi Mig-23ML shot down an Iranian F-14 using an R-60M, the pilot reported that he saw the missile go inside one of the Iranian plane engines and then explode. I am not awareof any combat use of the R-60 in the forward hemisphere. However my own experimentation with the missile from the ground, it could lock on headon on low level flying Mig-23 from a range of 2-3km.
I've been thinking about the well-known story of the "Sidewinder" that was stolen from German Air Force (and NATO) Neuburg (or Zell) Air Base in Bavaria and mailed to the Soviet Union in October 1967. Tom Cooper's version of it says it was an "advanced model" which was cloned as the K-13M, without details. Another version says it happened in 1968. Some versions of the story say it was an AIM-8B/FGW.2 or AIM-9F, with a German BGT seeker featuring carbon dioxide cooling. Others suggest it was an AIM-9D.

However, I thought the BGW.2 didn't enter service until 1969, and the seeker looks like a -B in shape. The AIM-9D was a US Navy missile, so what would it be doing in Bavaria? The USAF developed the AIM-9E but this used a Peltier cooling device and again the timing seem too early - when did AIM-9E enter service in Europe?

So, what is the truth? What "Advanced Sidewinders" were on site at this airbase?

Finally, the K-13M looks awfully similar to the Navy AIM-9D and used the same nitrogen cooling method. It seems likely that if anything, it was based on AIM-9D, but more likely one recovered from Vietnam than the German "postal missile delivery". While not part of the 'official' history, various Eastern European sources seem to regard it as well known fact.
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(R-13M, Product 380)
By the end of the sixties the outdated and the Sidewinder missile designed fifteen years earlier. AIM-9B. To replace it the Americans developed and in 1967 adopted in the armed forces an improved version AIM-9D.

The new modification eliminated the obvious flaw of the original model of the original model - a huge blunt forehead of the transparent
fairing of the thermal warhead, which allowed the range of the missile to be significantly increased.

The war in Vietnam created the prerequisites to familiarize the Soviet specialists with new American technology. Development of similar domestic rocket was launched on November 28, 1967.

In this regard the task was also to provide the possibility of launches into forward hemisphere, for which "Arsenal" OKB headed by I.N. Polosin started the development of the new high sensitivity "Iney-70" with freon gas cooling coming from systems located on the newly developed APU-13MT launcher.

The angle of seeker was increased from 28° to 40°, and the pointing of the head was carried out not by the missile, but by target designation signals from airborne equipment. In this case there was no need aiming of the plane's axis with the accuracy ,close to the accuracy necessary for cannon weapons.

To increase maneuverability slightly increased the area of the rudders. The missile was equipped with a new radar proximity fuse (NV) "Sinitsa". The safety "Galka" executive mechanism was located in front of the new rod warhead. The improved power unit provided almost three times longer flight time which, coupled with longer duration of the rocket flight in combination with more powerful PRD-240 engine made it possible to considerably extend the launch zone area of the rocket.

The new version, the "Article 380" was adopted for service on January 3, 1974 and was designated as R-13M - the tradition of indices of R-3 type was stopped.

Maximum range of launches to the rear hemisphere was increased to 15 km, range of angles was brought up to 3/4. In addition, the capability of launches to the front hemisphere was provided. Possibility of launches to the front hemisphere at angles up to 4/4 on targets with engines running on afterburner, as well as and from a carrier maneuvering with g-loads up to 3,7.

Out of curiosity any actual details on the R3R, was it possibly copied from Aim-9C's? Or was the seeker an independent development?
It was an original development.
In accordance with the Decree of 1962. along with the adoption of the MiG-21PF for the next modernization of this aircraft, it was instructed to create a version of the K-13 type missile with a semi-active radar guidance system - K-13R. In accordance with Decision VPK 172 of October 24, 1962, the new missile should have been submitted for joint testing by the end of next year.

The development of the PARG-13VV homing head was entrusted to NII-648, and the Sapfir-21 aircraft radar, which provides target illumination, was assigned to NII-339. Instead of the NOV-13K non-contact optical fuse, the Hawk radio fuse was developed. As usual, along with the combat version - "product 320", non-standard products were made for testing - aerodynamic ("321"), launchers ("322"), software telemetry ("323"), telemetry ("324"). The radio fuse was tested on K-13RV missiles - "320R products".

To ensure autonomous testing of the K-13R, one of the prototypes of the MiG-21 - E-7 / 3 was involved. In addition, the MiG-17PF was also converted for these works. The first ballistic launches took place in 1963.

Back in 1961, 5 sets of GOS were manufactured, and their preliminary coordination with the aircraft radar began. Subsequently, the Sapfir radar station was retrofitted with the MiG-21PF 76210725, on which factory tests were carried out from September 1962 to May 1963. At the Gorky plant, two aircraft of a new modification were produced, which later received the designation MiG-21S - 95210101 and 95210102.

MiG-21PF 76210725 on May 13, 1963 was presented for joint state tests, and by the end of the year MiG-21S 95210101 was attached to it, from which 7 single launches of telemetry missiles had already been completed. However, according to the results of unsuccessful launches of two telemetric and one combat missiles, the need for a number of improvements was revealed. The Sapphire radar was also insufficiently developed. According to the employees of the Mikoyan "company", before being installed on the MiG-21, it should, like other stations, be preliminarily brought to a flying laboratory - a two-seat Yak-25, more adapted for flight testing of radars.

The process of creating the K-13R was additionally complicated by the fact that for the first time the problem of creating a "radio" seeker for a missile that was not stabilized in roll was solved.

The work was delayed, so that the aircraft produced in 1964 - 1968 in the MiG-21 PFM modification had to be equipped with the aging RS-2US, somewhat modifying the aircraft radar, which received the designation RP-21M in this modification.

Only in the second half of the decade, the Sapphire-21 radar and the PARG-13 semi-active radar head were brought to fruition. Joint state tests were completed in 1966, and in September 1967 the missile and radar were put into service under the designations R-3R and RP-22S. With practically the same reach indicators as that of the R-3S, the "radio" missile was made in a noticeably longer length - 3.12 m and a slightly increased mass. This was due not only to the absence of an American full-scale model that sets the level, but also to fairly objective factors. Other Soviet missiles in the "radio" version also had a slightly larger length and mass in comparison with the modification with the TGS.

The R-3R missiles in combination with the R-ZS became the standard armament of the MiG-21S ("type 95") produced in 1965-1968, on which the RP-22S locator was installed, as well as the MiG aircraft created as their development, built in 1969-1974 -21 SM ("type 15") and MiG-21SMT ("type 50"). In accordance with the practice established in those years, an outwardly almost indistinguishable version of the MiG-21S, the MiG-21M, was exported abroad and produced in India, carrying the older RP-21MA locator (based on the TsD-3OT) and equipped with the RS-2US instead of the R-3R .

The R-3R missiles were suspended on the outer pair of APU-13U launchers, and products with thermal seekers were suspended on the inner ones.

The R-3S and R-3R missiles were also used on subsequent modifications of the MiG-21, including, starting from 1970, on the MiG-21MF and on aircraft supplied abroad. In addition, back in the first half of the fifties, R-ZS began to be introduced on the MiG-19, and not only on the original missile-carrying MiG-19PM interceptors, but also on other options. In relation to our Air Force, these improvements were carried out in 1963 on an experimental MiG-19 (SM-7 / 2T) with APU-ZS. Further, the MiG-19 with R-ZS missiles did not receive much distribution in our country, but they were successfully implemented in the aviation of friendly countries.

The R-3S and R-3R missiles also became the main armament of the first serial MiGs of the next generation - the MiG-23S with the Sapfir-21 radar. The development of the armament complex intended for the MiG-23 with missiles of the K-23 family and the Sapphire-23 radar has lagged behind the work on the carrier aircraft.

Note that the fate of the "radio" version of the K-13 turned out to be happier in comparison with the American counterpart - AIM-9C Sidewinder, created a little earlier, but only a thousand copies were produced and did not receive further development. And this despite the fact that Motorola managed to create a radar seeker in dimensions not exceeding the original thermal head. It is possible that the limited use of this version of the American missile was determined by the binding of the GOS to the AN / APQ-94 airborne radar, which was installed only on the F-8 Crusader fighters, which were outdated and gradually removed from service by the end of the sixties.

On the contrary, the Soviet R-3R was so clearly different from the original version with a thermal seeker that it was quickly identified in the West, receiving the designation AA-2-2 "Advanced Atoll".​
Detailed description of the R-3S in Russian is attached, based on the original manual.


1.1. Purpose

Self-guided aircraft missile R-3S belongs to the class of air-to-air missiles and is designed to arm fighters attacking targets in the rear hemisphere.

The missile allows you to hit targets at any time of the day in simple meteorological conditions. conditions (out of clouds) from long ranges and large angles. At the same time, the pilot works on the principle of "shot - forgot". Missiles placed under the wing consoles
can be launched one by one or in one gulp.

Missile guidance to the target is provided by a thermal homing head (TGS) and steering gear. The missile is launched after the “capture” of the target by the homing head, when the carrier is in the launch zone one and in the absence of overload, prohibiting the launch of a rocket. The pilot learns about the "capture" of the target by the sound signal in the headset, produced by TGS. The pilot's participation in target selection sharply increases the missile's noise immunity.

1.2. Basic performance data

Aerodynamic layout"Canard"
Guidance systemPassive, according to the thermal radiation of the target
Steering methodProportional convergence
Controlled flight timeAt least 21 s
Engine's typeRDTT
Total Engine Impulse36000-40000 Ns
Mass of warhead11.3 kg
Temperature range of application±500
length1838 mm
diameter127 mm
wingspan528 mm
Mass of a fully equipped missile75.3 kg
target altitude 0 .. 21.5 km
target flight speed800 .. 1600 km /h (M = 0.65 .. 1.3)
Launch range at equal speeds7.6 km
Shooting angle1/4 – 3/4


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