Vympel R-73 'ARCHER' - History, Design, Performance & Discussion

So you would call into question the documentation we do have?

It falls into line with what we know about the Mk58 motor from the AIM-7F’s SMC. and actually looking closely at it I wouldn’t be surprised if the motor in this case is a heavily modified Mk 58(potentially reduced length ), as were the propulsion sections of a number of other projects at the time (HAP, HARM etc.)


I suspect it to be a mk58 mod too, especially considering how long the missile burns in footage

It is insinuated that it is similar, but I don’t think this is a possibility.

However, we know it cannot be the Mk58. The dimensions of the motor are simply too small, and the AIM-7F does not have an extended nozzle tube.

It’s at least 3 1/2" shorter, similar diameter… but we know nothing about it aside they say it’s [redacted] as the one on AIM-7F. To have the exact same total impulse as the Mk58 I don’t think is possible. Especially with a TVC nozzle.

The AIM-7F’s motor had a relatively high ISP already (268s?), so I don’t think it could have come from performance improvements.

So assuming the data wasn’t wrong, and it was similar to the Sparrow what would the Agile’s projected mass be?

Also since we know which stations were envisioned to carry them we have an effective upper limit of 250~300lb (including carriage equipment; a LAU-7A/A is 90lb) from the A-7’s fuselage station loadout.

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yeah 15 sec burn time minimum according to the footage. Vid cuts off before the motor cuts out.

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The burn time can vary a lot, and a lot of developmental models were made. The more realistic answer is seen here; average 3,500 pounds thrust for 7 seconds with no less than 24,000 lb-s total impulse.

Holding the Course, History of the Navy at China Lake, California, Volume 5 Challenge and Change at the Naval Weapons Center, 1968 -1979

I will continue discussing the AIM-95 in the proper thread, though;

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That was the picture they settled on huh


Interesting discussion boys.

Procurement was not carried out due to a lack of performance. Definitely not cost. This was the Cold War after all, a time of blank checks and 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year nuclear armed B-52 patrols around the continental United States. Money was no object.

However, it was due to politics within the industrial military complex as well as the Navy and Airforce that Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara started.

Research and development into the Navys Aim-95 and Airforce’s AIM-82 went on during the time of Robert McNamara where mass uniformity between the Airforce and Navy took place at his direction. Not only did this affect fighter design (TFX Program) it covered air intercept missiles. It’s not because the Aim-95 was inferior etc. or costly. It was just all about creating uniformity between the branches.

Obviously, we broke free from Secretary of Defense McNamara’s TFX Program, but uniformity remained in air intercept missiles, and we went with the Aim-9L.

I chalk this a win for the Soviets.

well, as was mentioned with the AIM-9K, we could’ve had uniformity and performance. 9L was specifically uniformity and cost-efficiency relative to need.

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There is a separate AIM-95 thread.

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Yeah, I do not know anything about any aim-9k sorry, just some history and doctrine.

Aim-9L fit our doctrinal need regardless of cost.

phonebooth knife fighting and high off boresight capability was not our prioritization and primary doctrine in aerial combat nor was it the principal threat of the United States. There was not a doctrinal need for such a missile as the Aim-95.

BVR is still our principal doctrine and out principal threat. Fighters such as the Flanker not because its close-range capability, but It’s powerful radar, strategic combat radius and sheer number of long burn Alamo’s as well as the R-77 was the principal threat. The Flanker’s BVR capability continues to be the threat today. It just that the Chinese Flanker has taken the Soviet/Federations place.

Thanks Gats, I do not care for such a missile that never was though. If anyone feels the Aim9L/M is lacking all they need to do is give it historical effective range and all aspect lock range, it had. The missile is more than sufficient and it’s all up to GJ on just how deadly it can really be.

Anyway, hope you are enjoying the patch, and we get some R-73 updates soon. Whenever you guys figure out what exactly is the issue. I am experiencing issues with it too.

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You’re taking some…very extreme liberties with where you’re cutting your quotes off.

I will reiterate: the R-73 was not unique or revolutionary in the field of AAMs for its TVC HOBS capability. It was revolutionary for combining this with a conventional aerodynamic control scheme that removed the primary disadvantage of previous TVC HOBS dogfight missile concepts, that being that they had a hard range limit and could not coast, by implementing an aerodynamic control scheme.

The AIM-95 is TVC only, it is a conceptually a chunkier and more advanced SRAAM.

The R-73 would not have made waves, nor would it have likely been a worthwhile project, if the only notable features upon entering service were that it had a HOBS capable seeker combined with a TVC system. This had been evaluated by the Soviets, the British, and the US, and found to not be ideal in all three cases. I will reiterate, it was the R-73’s integration of TVC and traditional aerodynamic control that made it conceptually revolutionary. Comparing it and the AIM-95 is like comparing the F-14 and the F-111B and saying they’re basically the same because they had similar specs and swing wings.


Generic you reiterated the hell out of that history.

Not quite the best example imo though, because technically they are directly related, as both originated from the TFX program.

I’m just having a laugh splitting hairs. Pay no mind as its besides your point. Which I understood.

The entire point of the Agile was supremacy in the dogfight at the expense of all else, and as such where they would be optimized which is where TVC is a big advantage at least in comparison to a conventional 1st / 2nd generation layout. Had there been a need for longer range there would still be the Sidewinder, Falcon, Super Falcon, Sparrow, AMRAAM, Phoenix, etc. depending on the launch platform. So the lack of range past a point isn’t an issue if there is a clear use case.

Sure some magical universal missile would be nice, but a comparative specialist may still beat it out in some specifics which causes issues.

This entire argument is why there is no NATO standard SRAAM; unlike the Sparrow / AMRAAM / SM family, instead you get the AIM-9X, ASRAAM, IRIS-T, MICA, AAM-3 etc. because there is no Pan-European agreement on the tradeoff of Dogfight specialization vs Range. Due to the AIMVAL / ACEVAL findings spurring a divestment from the Sidewinder as a platform for the most part permitting nations to find their own balance.

And again The AIM-95 is the closest the US ever came to having their own R-73 equivalent in service, which was a viable option for avoiding IRCCM based power creep(AIM-9M), considering that various relevant airframes were tested with them.


They seriously need to fix this , the missile has been in the game for 4 months + now and they STILL haven’t fixed it.

  • its missing 20G more in tvc mode (the missile should be 60G)

Updated my bug report about R-73

R-73 autopilot and Thrust vectoring broken // Gaijin.net // Issues


Do we need 60g?

For accuracy, yes