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R-60/AA-8 Aphid - A Good Design Philosophy?

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The R-60 is a very lightweight missile.  While all missiles share the characteristic of extremely high Thrust-to-Weight ratios, because of how small the R-60 was, it could be assumed its was much higher than its contemporaries.  This, combined with its light weight, could give the R-60 a noticeable maneuverability advantage over, say, an AIM-9L, which is a comparatively large missile.  This had the drawback of comparatively small warhead of only 3 kg.  However, given the fragility of fighter sized targets, this shouldn't be such an issue.  This all results in a very compact missile.  This also gave the advantage of being able to have multiple missiles on racks, where a larger missile would only allow one on a pylon.  (An example could be on the MiG-25; You could either have one large R-40T, or two small R-60's per rail.)


Another point to draw from the above, is that, it seems the R-60 gains its superb mobility from very conventional fins, rather than advanced means, like thrust vectoring, which could significantly increase the cost of a single unit, which, given that a large stockpile would be needed in a war scenario, would eventually stack high up on the budget listing.


The point I'm making here is that, for a dogfight missile, where engagement ranges are very short, and the targets are fighters, would the idea of a short-legged and less potent but very fast and agile missile be better than a larger missile with a larger, heavier warhead and thrust vectoring with a longer range?  I know the R-60 has been outclassed by today's missiles simply by virtue of being made from obsolete technology, but, would a missile built by the same design philosophy, with modern technology, be an effective alternative to the generally 'large warhead, long range' dogfight missiles we see today?  I personally think so.


Thanks for reading.

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I would never discount "old technology".


Given a 'golden BB', even a Brown Bess could take down an F-22!!

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As currently implemented in SF2, I like them a lot.

I don't believe there is enough accurate information to say how good they actually were/are.

Beyond the small warhead, which always is a problem, the fact that they are rather short ranged puts them at a big disadvantage when facing enemies with AIM-9L/M or better weapons.

But, their maneuverability gives them an excellent engagement envelope if you do manage to get in close enough to fire.

Firing at short ranges also gives the target less time see the shot and deploy flares.

But small size might not only limit range and warhead, it may mean a simpler seeker that is more susceptible to countermeasures and/or less able to discriminate the target against background heat such as clouds/ground.


It would be cool if a government with access to both AIM-9s and AA-8s could afford to do comparative analysis with real-world shots against QF-4s or similar.

I would love to know the truth rather than the propaganda always touted by both sides.

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The R-60 was tested by the Luftwaffe in early 90th and it was said, that the Aphid was a very good missile. The modern versions were comparable with a AIM-9L.

The advantage of the R-60 was a very short minimum launch range of less than 300 meters (dead zone) and the high possible g load of 42g which made the missile very agile.

The warhead was to small. The continous rod warhead (i hope this is the correct translation of Stabmantelgefechtsteil) was made by steel in the early versions. In the last versions it was made by depleted uranium which gave a much better punch. But it was still weaker than the 9L warhead.

The maximum launch range was smaller than range of the 9L. But in real combat of early 80th the head on shots with the 9L were not really succesfull, because the western planes had big problems with friend or foe discrimination. Thatswhy the Israelis used the 9L after a short while only in tail on shots.

The seeker head of the R-60 had had a wider seeking angle than that of the 9L, but the resolution of the 9L head was much better. The first versions of the R-60 were relativly easy to catch with flares, but the last versions got a seeker head with a good capability to identify and ignore flares. The most plus point was, that the seeker head could be slaved with a HMS, so that target lock and launch was much easier, faster and in a wider field possible than with a AIM-9L


The final conclusion of the Luftwaffe was, that R-60MK and AIM-9L were missiles of the same development level, but the R-73 was very superior and one generation ahead. Thatswhy the development of IRIS-T was started.

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