The remains of Russia’s rare and deadly R-37M air-to-air missile were found in Ukraine.
The wreckage of an apparent Russian very long-range R-37M air-to-air missile points to the type’s use against Ukrainian military aircraft without entering their air defense zone.
The R-37M, known to NATO as the AA-13 Axehead, is a modern 124-mile-range air-to-air missile. It is a long-range missile intended to destroy various air targets (airplane, cruise missile, helicopter) while keeping the launch platform out of the range of any fighters or air defense unit that might be protecting the target.
According to the open sources, the R-37M missile guidance system is inertial with radio correction and active radar homing, which is activated at the end of the missile’s flight path. As a propulsion system, a two-mode solid fuel engine is used. As an explosive device, the radar active non-contact and contact sensors of the target are used. The military part of the rocket is a fragmentation-high explosive.
Wreckage of a spent R-37M long-range air-to-air missile, found by Ukrainian soldiers.
The R-37M is the most long-range missile of its class, not only in service with the Russian Aerospace Forces, but also in comparison with its world counterparts. pic.twitter.com/l5ZxNC0vWB
— David Kime (@CyberRealms1) February 12, 2023
The missile, weighing 1,124 pounds, is similar in size to the R-33 (1,078 pounds), but thanks to a dual-pulse solid-propellant rocket motor and optimized flight profile, it achieves almost twice the range.
R-37M air-to-air missiles, carried by the Su-35S Flanker-E and MiG-31BM Foxhound-C fighters, have become a real challenge for Ukrainian fighter pilots.