- Dec 27, 2005
- Reaction score
A thread to discuss the various variants of the Sidewinder copy, K-13.
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.
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.