Top 10 Beyond visual range (BVR) missiles

Top 10 Beyond visual range (BVR) missiles

The Saber Rattling Team mades an efforts to find the best available specifications and data to evaluate the top 10 BVR Air-to-Air capable missiles.we request everyone to please read the article fully & leave your valuable comment.

Beyond visual range air-to-air missiles (BVRAAM) are long-range missiles used by fighters to knock out enemy fighters, bombers, tankers, drones and other aircraft from ranges beyond pilot vision.

1. PL-21 (China)


The PL-21 is the newest BVR missiles for Chinese 5th generation fighter J-20 having world longest range of 400 km. The new PL-21, said to be similar to the British Meteor Beyond Visual Range Air-to-Air Missile (BVRAAM). PL-21 features 4 small stabilizing fins behind the active radar seeker. Two-way data link antennas may be installed in the tail section for mid-course correction. The effective range of PL-21 is expected to be greater than 300 km. The missile might be carried by the new J-11B and J-20 fighters for long-range interception

2. Meteor (Sweden)

Meteor is the next generation of Beyond Visual Range Air-to-Air Missile (BVRAAM) system designed to revolutionize air-to-air combat in the 21st Century. The weapon brings together six nations with a common need to defeat the threats of today as well as the future emerging ones developed by MBDA.

Guided by an advanced active radar seeker, Meteor provides all weather capability to engage a wide variety of targets from agile fast jets to small Unmanned Aerial Vehicles and cruise missiles. It is designed to meet the most stringent of requirements and is capable of operating in the most severe of clutter and countermeasure environments.
The weapon is also equipped with data link communication. Aimed at meeting the needs of a network centric environment, Meteor can be operated using third party data, enabling the Meteor user – the pilot – to have the most flexible weapon system. Using the data link means that target information updates while the missile is already streaking towards its quarry. Re-targeting data can even come from a third party—i.e., from a platform other than the launch aircraft. The datalink is capable of transmitting information such as kinematic status. It also notifies target acquisition by the seeker.
The Meteor is installed with an active radar target seeker, offering high reliability in detection, tracking and classification of targets. The missile also integrates inertial measurement system (IMS). It uses AD4A (Active Anti-Air Seeker) family of seekers.
Meteor’s stunning performance is achieved through its unique ramjet propulsion system – solid fuel, variable flow, ducted rocket. This ‘ramjet’ motor provides the missile with thrust all the way to target intercept, providing the largest No-Escape Zone of any air-to-air missile.

3. K 100 (Russia) 

Novator DRDO K-100 is a Russian air-to-air missile designed as an “AWACS killer” at ranges up to 400 km. It is a radar homing missile having a speed of Mach 3.3. It can fly at Max altitude of 30000 m. It used on IAF Su 30 MKI and RuAF Su 35. The airframe is based in 9k37 Buk surface to air missile and is equipped with inertial guidance and terminal active radar homing. It is the heaviest air-to-air missile ever produced.

Development of this missile delayed many times and staled in 1990. This project restarted in 2004 after a deal with India. It used a two-stage rocket engine. K 100 flies to the vicinity of the target by inertial navigation, and then activates its own active radar for terminal homing. K 100 attacks its Targets with an adaptive high explosive (HE) fragmentation warhead. The K-100 has an enlarged (350 mm (14 in)) derivative of the Agat 9B-1103M seeker used in the Vympel R-27. It has a lock-on range of 40 km.  This missile can pull out 12g (probably even better) maneuvering. K 100 also has advanced features like autopilot, resistance to jamming and a steering system with 3D thrust vector control (TVC).

A combined Gas/AeroDynamic Control system is used for 3d TVC. 3D TVC Provides High Maneuverability irrespective of launch Conditions and allows for missile launch with AC in super Maneuverability flight mode. Adaptive Rapid Reaction Autopilot Which Optimizes with Missile Stabilization and control Parameters within the firing range. A Special Interaction Logic between the KS-100 Explosive Fuse and Guidance system are using In addition to structural and configuration features, which guarantees absolute immunity of the Warhead detonation system to Jamming.

4. PL-15 (China)

The PL-15 is developed by the 607 Institute. It is the replacement for China’s current BVRAAM, the radar guided, PL-12. Compared to the PL-12, the PL-15 has an improved active radar seeker and jam-resistant datalinks, along with a dual pulse rocket motor to extend its range. PL 15 has a belly intake and a rocket boost motor along with a ramjet sustainer motor, making it one of the longest-ranged AAMs in the world at present.  PL 15 is comparable to American AIM-120D.

 PL-15 also features an improved guidance system including duplex data link and new active/passive dual mode seeker with enhanced ECCM capability. The missile is thought to have a new dual pulse rocket motor in favor of a ramjet engine, giving it not only a longer range 210km but also a relatively small body size. It appears PL-15 has superseded the PL-12 series as the primary LRAAM for the stealth fighters of China in development. It is also speculated to fly a semi-ballistic trajectory similar to American AIM-54 in order to achieve an extra long range (range>300km, speed>Mach 4, cruising altitude 30km). Before the launch the missile must obtain the target information via datalink from an AWACS, land-based long-range radar or even a satellite. The launch aircraft disengages right after releasing the missile. After the initial ascent stage, the missile may use Beidou/GPS+INS+datalink guidance during the mid-course cruising stage. At the terminal diving stage, in combination with the AESA seeker, it may also use an IIR seeker as indicated by a small optical window in its nose, which further increases its kill probability amid severe jamming.

5. AIM 120 C (United States)

The AIM-120 AMRAAM is a medium-range; air-to-air missile. It is an all-weather, missile manufactured by Raytheon. The AMRAAM is in service with the US Air Force (USAF), US Navy (USN), and over 25 US-allied nations. The AIM C has been steadily upgraded since it was introduced. The AIM-120C-6 contained an improved fuse (Target Detection Device) compared to its predecessor. The AIM-120C-7 development began in 1998 and included improvements in homing and greater range.

The missile’s layout is divided into guidance, armament, propulsion and control sections. The missile has home-on-jamming capabilities. It can travel at speeds of mach 4 and has range of more than 100Km. The AIM-120C has smaller control surfaces to fulfill F/A-22’s internal carriage requirements and also features an improved warhead. 
The AIM-120 AMRAAM receives information about the location of the target from the aircraft before its launch. The onboard active radar with inertial navigation system (INS) makes the missile less dependent on aircraft’s fire control radar and integrates a data link to guide the missile. Once the missile closes to self-homing distance, the active radar guides it towards the target. This feature provides fire and forgets capability to the missile and allows the pilot to fire number of missiles simultaneously at multiple targets.

The AMRAAM P3I (Pre-Planned Product Improvement) program led to the AIM-120C, first delivered in 1996.

The Vympel NPO R-77 missile is a Russian medium range, active radar homing air-to-air missile system. The R-77 has the ability to engage multiple airborne threats simultaneously thanks to its fire and forget capability. There are other versions fitted with infrared and passive radar seekers instead of active radar homing. Future plans call for increasing the missile range well beyond 150 kilometers. Currently it has 80Km range. It has speed of 4 mach and can operate at altitudes as 25000 m high.

6. R-77 (Russia)

The R-77 has been designed with innovative control surfaces which are one of the keys of its impressive performance. Once launched, the R-77 depends on an inertial navigation system with optional in-flight target position updates from the aircraft sensors. When the R-77 missile is at a distance of about 20 km its radar homing head activates leading the missile to its target. The R-77’s multi-purpose target engagement capabilities and resistance against countermeasures are among the best in the world. It is launched from AKU-170E launch unit aboard the aircraft.

The R-77 carries a 22.5kg multi-shaped charge rod type warhead. An inertial/radio-corrected navigation system guides the missile during the initial flight phase, while a multi-function doppler-monopulse active radar seeker is employed in the terminal phase.

R77 uses large strakes for lift enhancement, and unique lattice tail controls. The R-77P uses the 9B-1032 X-band anti-radiation seeker. A rocket-ramjet variant of the missile has been in development since the 1990s, as a counter to the EU Meteor. Designated the RVV-AE-PD, and often labeled the R-77M.

7. MICA (France)


The MICA (Missile d’Interception, de Combat et d’Autodéfense) is a short- and Beyond Visual Range (BVR) AAM system developed by MBDA for the Rafale and advanced variants of Mirage 2000 combat aircraft.
The system includes two variants – MICA (EM) RF featuring an active radio frequency seeker and MICA IR featuring a dual waveband imaging infrared seeker to defeat enemy counter measures. A surface-launched version, named VL MICA, is also available for use by naval or ground-based air defence systems.
The guidance section, mounted in the nose section, consists of strap-down inertial reference unit, data link, passive imaging IR seeker, and active RF mono-pulse Doppler seeker.The strap-down inertial reference unit is installed to determine attitude and heading information, while the data link carries the updated target information from the carrier aircraft to the missile. The active RF, mono-pulse Doppler seeker provides the MICA RF with shoot-up / shoot down capability in all weather conditions. It is capable of operating in lock-on before launch and lock-on after launch modes. An infrared search and track (IRST) system in the seeker allows the missile to autonomously detect, track and lock-on the targets.

The missile’s high-explosive warhead is triggered by RF proximity fuse, direct impact fuse and focused splinters.Its lightweight and compact dimensions allow for integration of up to six missiles on medium to lightweight fighters.

MICA missile features a lightweight, compact design with long chord wings. Four control surfaces are located on its tail to provide high speed and improved aerodynamic capabilities, and thrust-vectoring vanes to enhance post launch turn rates. MICA uses midcourse inertial guidance with datalink updates, and RF and impact fusing. The active homing variant, the MICARF, is equipped with a monopulse pulse Doppler seeker. Target designation for the missile is provided by electro-optical sensors, radar and helmet-mounted sight. Indian and Taiwanese Mirage 2000 aircraft carry MICA variants.
It is powered by a low-smoke solid propellant with high impulse. A thrust vector control system coupled to tail control surfaces provides high maneuverability. It can be fired from the aircraft at maximum g and maximum angle of attack. Its stealth, multi-shoot, and first-shot, first-kill capabilities provide increased fire power for lightweight fighters. MICA’s minimum and maximum operating ranges are 500m and 60km respectively.

8. Derby (Israel)

The Derby is the Israeli equivalent to the US AIM-120, drawing extensively on the technology developed for the Python 4. The Derby uses an improved higher impulse derivative of the Python 4 motor, a Python 4 warhead, fusing system and other components. The active radar seeker, inertial midcourse and datalink package are new; the canard controls and roll stabilization vanes are derived from the Python 4. The canard design was used to provide the missile with good close-in performance. Derby has a range of 50 Km, it uses active radar homing and can travel at speeds of mach 4.
The Derby is equipped with an active radar seeker to provide the missile a ‘fire and forget’ engagement capability, beyond visual range and under all weather conditions. Derby missile has multi-shot engagement air-launched platforms. With the sensor and its signal processing algorithms the missile enables look-down/shoot-down capability, and advanced operating modes, adding to the ‘fire and forget’. Derby also has excellent ECCM capability.

9. AAM-4B (Japan)

The Mitsubishi AAM-4 is a medium-range active radar homing air-to-air missile. AAM-4B was the world’s first air-to-air missile with an AESA radar seeker.  It has a range of 120 Km. it uses inertial guidance, mid-course update  terminal active radar homing as guidance. It can cruise at speeds of above mach 4.

AAM 4B has a greatly improved data link than the older missiles. It also has multi target capability. This advanced missile has the ability to lock on before and after launch capability. Japanese experts say it is more capable than Russian R-77. 

10. AIM 120 D (USA)

AIM-120D (originally designated AIM-120C8), is a development of the AIM-120C with a two-way data link, improved navigation using a GPS-enhanced Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU), an expanded no-escape envelope, improved high-angle off-bore sight capability + a 50% increase in range. Production of the AIM-120D commenced in 2006 with the Engineering and Manufacturing Development (EMD) phase completed in September 2009. In April 2015, the AIM-120D achieved initial operational capability (IOC).  The range advantage over its predecessor AIM 10 C is enormous despite the lack of new missile body or rocket motor (50% greater range than the already-extended range AIM-120C-7). AIM-120D has new software to make it survivable against new forms of electronic attack. Aim 120 Ds  better guidance over its entire flight envelope yielding an improved kill probability.

The AIM-120 AMRAAM uses the same engine as AIM-120C, with improvements being mainly in electronics.  It is powered by a high-performance rocket motor using reduced smoke HTPB (hydroxyl terminated polybutadiene) propellant. The motor is housed in a WPU-6/B propulsion unit. 120 D has range more than 160 Km. it has speed of Mach 4 and uses an active radar homing seeker along with inertial guidance system.

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