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OKB-4/Bisnovat/Molniya R-98 "Advanced Anab" AAM

Blitzer9856

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1619974524817.png
(R-98MR under the right wing, R-98MT under the left wing)

I was kind of surprised when I didn't find a thread on this missile. I decided to compile the information I personally know about it and start a thread.

From my personal writing:

The R-98 used to be the main weapon of the Su-15TM Flagon interceptor. Its semi-active radar-homing derivative was the one used to shoot down the Korean Airliner during the year of 1983.

Originally conceived as the R-8, it was soon modified to the R-8M ("M" for "modifitseerovannaya" (modified)), made compatible with aircraft equipped with the Oyrol radar, mostly used on the Sukhoi Su-11 interceptor.

The R-8M, also came in 1961 in two variants: the R-8MT, and the R-8MR (IR and SARH respectively). Those were also improved into the R-8MT1 and R-8MR1, which saw an increased operational altitude envelope, to 300 m - 23,000 m and it is thanks to the improved autopilot and newer seeker heads; especially the R-8MT1, the new IR seeker head gave it round-the-clock capability. Changes have also been made to the missiles' airframes, featuring reinforced wings enabling them to turn tighter at low altitudes.

Two years later (in 1963), the R-98 was conceived as the main weapon of the Su-15. Based on the older R-8, new models of each the IR and SARH deriatives were conceived. The objective was to improve on their reliability and nose immunity to countermeasures, as well as increasing their power supply. The changes that ocurred were promising; the IR version became all-aspect (beat the US by 15 years in all-aspect IR missile seekers!), featuring the new TGS-14T seeker-head, while the SARH version received the more reliable PARG-14-VV. The autopilot and fuse were also improved, and the rear-fairing was reshaped to become perfectly cylindrical instead of the tapered design. The new missiles were designated R-98R and R-98T. Another important change was the new PRD-143 rocket motor, which unlike the older PRD-141 of the R-8, produced 13,400 kgf of thrust instead of 11,200 kgf.

As the Su-15 interceptor evolved into the Su-15TM, so did the R-98. A new PARG-16 semi-active radar-homing seeker head was installed in the R-98R which improved its reliability. Other than that however, not much changed. The new missiles were designated R-98MR and R-98MT (SARH and IR respectively). The main changes were to make the previous R-98s compatible with the Taifoon-M radar of the Su-15TM.

The R-98MR was capable of engaging targets from 2,000 - 21,000 m in head-on mode, and from 500 m - 24,000 m in pursuit mode, and its maximum kill range was 24 km in head-on and 16 km in pursuit.

These missiles were usually loaded under PU-2-8 racks. The usual setup was two GSh-23 guns in two gunpods, R-60/R-60M dogfight missiles and two R-98MR or R-98MT AAMs or one of each (so 2 x R-60/R-60M + 1 x R-98MR + 1 x R-98MT sometimes).

1619975320376.png

Quoting:

The usual setup was two R-60/R-60M dogfight missiles and two R-98MR or R-98MT AAMs or one of each (so 2 x R-60/R-60M + 1 x R-98MR + 1 x R-98MT sometimes).

Despite this, in some cases the Su-15TM had the APU-60-2 / APU-60-II launchers which allowed it to carry four R-60/R-60Ms and two R-98s, bringing the count to six missiles.

1619975484835.png

I think it's impressive that the USSR had all-aspect heat-seeking missiles in 1963, although possibly the worst ones in history.

The specifications for the R-98MR are as follows, from my information:

  • Length: 4.18 m (164.56 in)
  • Wingspan: 1.22 m (48 in)
  • Body Diameter: 275 mm (12.2 in)
  • Weight: 285 kg (628 lb)
  • Speed: Mach 2
  • Burn time: 2.5 - 6s
  • Flight time: 40 - 60s
  • Propulsion: PRD-143 single-stage solid rocket propellant motor (thrust: 13,400 kgf)
  • Warhead: 40 kg (88 lb) HE
  • Guidance: Semi-Active Radar-Homing
  • Range: 24 km max (15 mi)
  • G overload (launch limit): 3G
  • G overload (target): 3G
  • G overload (Air): 14G
  • IRCM: No
  • ECCM: No
  • Aspect: All-Aspect
 

GARGEAN

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I have a HUGE doubt that IR version was all aspect. I have a big suspicion that confusion comes from SARH version of R-98 becoming front engagement capable over R-8. There is extremely little possibility for IR one to be all aspect in those years, aside from using photocontrast guidance like on Strela-1, but then it would have even more limitations than already limited by atmospheric conditions Strela-1.
 

Blitzer9856

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I have a HUGE doubt that IR version was all aspect. I have a big suspicion that confusion comes from SARH version of R-98 becoming front engagement capable over R-8. There is extremely little possibility for IR one to be all aspect in those years, aside from using photocontrast guidance like on Strela-1, but then it would have even more limitations than already limited by atmospheric conditions Strela-1.

According to "Soviet-Russian Aircraft Weapons Since WW2" by Yefim Gordon p.41:

The R-98T is equipped with a new infrared TGS-14T seeker head having all-aspect, day/night engagement capability, with an attendant change in the shape and size of the foremost body section. The latter is divided into two bays housing the seeker head proper and its liquid nitrogen cooling system.
I don't believe its all aspect capability was as efficient as the all aspect missiles from the late 70s into the 80s, but it seems that it still had it regardless.
 

overscan (PaulMM)

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It sounds like a second generation cooled PbS (lead sulphide) or at best PbSe (lead selenide) seeker. This might have a limited head-on-ish capability against a bomber-sized target like a B-58 in full afterburner - normally its more like rear and side versus rear only for uncooled PbS. R-98 was the first SARH AAM in the USSR with head-on capability (R-8 was designed for tailchase engagements only), so I think Gordon's got a bit confused here.

This is nothing at all unusual in the timeframe cited (e.g. Falcon, AIM-9D, R-13M) and inferior to Red Top which had an early InSb (indium antimonide) seeker.
 
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Blitzer9856

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R-98 was the first SARH AAM in the USSR with head-on capability (R-8 was designed for tailchase engagements only), so I think Gordon's got a bit confused here.

Isn't that the R-3R?

And in the book he explicitly refers to the IR model, and right after mentioning the new IR seeker he includes the all aspect capability. Can't be confused with the SARH model.
 

overscan (PaulMM)

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If you think Yefim Gordon can't be confused about something then you clearly havent been reading his books very carefully.

R-98 clearly uses a new cooled seeker. I'm less inclined to believe it was all aspect except in very limited situations, and aby suggestion it was early or exceptional in this is plainly incorrect. You might want to read some of the Russian language sources directly.
 

Blitzer9856

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If you think Yefim Gordon can't be confused about something then you clearly havent been reading his books very carefully.

I'm a reader of his books for a few years now, I know he sometimes he makes several mistakes, but I think this is a case where it's just unreasonable for him to make a mistake.

I'm less inclined to believe it was all aspect except in very limited situations

That's what I'm thinking..
 

overscan (PaulMM)

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A very much better source for you:


The K-8 family used various revisions of the S1 IR seeker. Early missiles used successively the S1/S1-200/S1-U. The R-8M used the S1D-58 version and R-8M1 S1D-58M. s far as I can tell they were all uncooled lead sulphide seekers.

The R-98 was just slightly ahead of the R-23 AAM in timings, and the TGS-14T seeker used on the R-98 seems technically the same - nitrogen cooled cooled lead sulphide.

For comparison, the similar (possibly better) R-24T seeker has a headon range of 3km against a cruising F-16, which isn;t terribly good, but can lock onto a Mach 3 SR-71 at 49km. So my point stands. Cooled lead sulphide seekers were hardly new in the mid 1960s - see the Hughes AIM-4 Falcon series.

Incidentally Yefim's book Soviet Russian Aircraft Weapons since WW2 misrepresents the relationships between the different OKBs involved in missiles.

K-5 was designed from 1948 by Department 32 of Beria's KB-1 organisation under D.L. Tomashevich. After Beria's demise, the team was transferred to the newly formed OKB-2 under Grushin. In 1956 Grushin OKB stopped work on improving K-5 to concentrate on the new K-6, and K-5 design work was transferred to KB-455, a small bureau newly formed at the Kalingrad missile factory which was producing the K-5 in series.

OKB-2 later became known as Fakel and after the K-6 proved disappointing largely specialised in surface-to-air missiles, while KB-445 became Zvezda and moved to specialising in air-to-surface missiles starting with Kh-23 (its K-5 lineage being obvious).

OKB-4 Bisnovat / Molniya and OKB-134 Toropov / Vympel competed from the 1950s onwards with the K-8/K-7 missiles respectively. OKB-4 were the early leaders with the K-8, but Toropov got the job of reverse-engineering the AIM-9 Sidewinder, and the two OKBs competed fairly evenly until 1977 when, on the death of Bisnovat, OKB-4 was merged into OKB-134 Vympel.

I don't see any reason for the R-98 being called "Kalingrad" - it was an OKB-4 design, not a KB-455 design. It was most likely mass produced at the Kalingrad factory, but this is not relevant. I've renamed the topic accordingly.
 
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overscan (PaulMM)

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R-98 was the first SARH AAM in the USSR with head-on capability (R-8 was designed for tailchase engagements only), so I think Gordon's got a bit confused here.

And in the book he explicitly refers to the IR model, and right after mentioning the new IR seeker he includes the all aspect capability. Can't be confused with the SARH model.

Strictly speaking, he is correct in that both R-98R and T were able to be fired head-on if they could achieve a lockon. However, only the juiciest of targets in full afterburner would be detected at any useful range.

The comment "beat the US by 15 years in all-aspect IR missile seekers" is bogus nonsense. I hope that was your phrase and not Gordons, but either way it betrays a total lack of knowledge of AAM development.
 

Blitzer9856

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The comment "beat the US by 15 years in all-aspect IR missile seekers" is bogus nonsense. I hope that was your phrase and not Gordons, but either way it betrays a total lack of knowledge of AAM development.

I'm not biased, don't take it harshly, I didn't mean it the way you think it was. Obviously my statement not his.

Strictly speaking, he is correct in that both R-98R and T were able to be fired head-on if they could achieve a lockon. However, only the juiciest of targets in full afterburner would be detected at any useful range.

This is what I meant. Regardless of how bad or how strict the frontal lock-on conditions were for the R-98T and MT, they were still all aspect and technically the first ones in the world. But if we're talking all aspect missiles with consistent and good head-on lock conditions that goes to the US with their AIM-9L from 1978.
 

overscan (PaulMM)

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This is what I meant. Regardless of how bad or how strict the frontal lock-on conditions were for the R-98T and MT, they were still all aspect and technically the first ones in the world. But if we're talking all aspect missiles with consistent and good head-on lock conditions that goes to the US with their AIM-9L from 1978.

Erm. No.

Hughes AIM-4G Super Falcon - 1959 - had a nitrogen-cooled PbS seeker technically very similar with limited all-aspect capability.
Red Top was tested from 1961 and entered service in 1964 as an all-aspect missile with a cooled InSb seeker.

That's two prior examples off the top of my head.

In the later 1960s the Navy AIM-9D (nitrogen cooled PbS) and Air Force AIM-9E (Peltier cooled PbS) were also similar.

Please do some basic research before making such statements.
 
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Blitzer9856

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This is what I meant. Regardless of how bad or how strict the frontal lock-on conditions were for the R-98T and MT, they were still all aspect and technically the first ones in the world. But if we're talking all aspect missiles with consistent and good head-on lock conditions that goes to the US with their AIM-9L from 1978.

Erm. No.

Hughes AIM-4G Super Falcon - 1959 - had a nitrogen-cooled PbS seeker technically very similar with limited all-aspect capability.
Red Top was tested from 1961 and entered service in 1964 as an all-aspect missile with a cooled InSb seeker.

That's two prior examples off the top of my head.

In the later 1960s the Navy AIM-9D (nitrogen cooled PbS) and Air Force AIM-9E (Peltier cooled PbS) were also similar.

Please do some basic research before making such statements.

My bad, forgot about them. It's just an honest mistake.

I'm sure the AIM-9E and D were only rear though..
 

GARGEAN

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I don't see any reason for the R-98 being called "Kalingrad" - it was an OKB-4 design, not a KB-455 design. It was most likely mass produced at the Kalingrad factory, but this is not relevant. I've renamed the topic accordingly.
It's Kaliningrad, not Kalingrad, if we want to be precise)
 

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