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

the thing is I dont think the missile every actually lost sight of the target in the actual server just the visual model from client side makes it look like it does but assuming the missile is constantly pulling say, 25-40 degrees AoA+75 degree gimbal limit would make it near impossible for the missile to lose sight of the target provided it is turning. Thats my hypothesis atleast

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it is a universal bug

prolongationTimeMax indicates the angular rate memory for the missile that will persist after losing track.
For example, if target is moving at 10 degrees per second to missile’s right, after losing track of target, missile’s seeker will keep on moving to the right at 10 degrees per second and attempt to reacquire.
This is why after missile going through flares it may randomly acquire a friendly aircraft, since the movement of seeker FoV when prolongationTimeMax is in effect is not bounded by angleMax or rateMax.
Here is a Chinese video with detailed test of this mechanics (and infrared intensity as well as band mask to reject).


this value seems to be the same on all AAMs so for the R-73 it shouldnt be any different from others there

The problem is when prolongationTimeMax is in effect, FoV is not bounded by angleMax and rateMax.
That means the missile’s seeker essentially spinning on an axis several times per second, If missile flew past you at close distance, the angular rate at that instant could be 360 degrees per second or higher. Thus the missile will acquire any target that happens to be within its FoV, effectively retaining or reacquiring a lock from an impossible state.
This is also the reason (the bug) of why missile randomly regains lock or lock on unfortunate friendly target after going through flare.

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ah I see what you mean now, also that video sent seems really interesting but unfortunately I do not know chinese but the visuals showed what you meant

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Possible it’s arcade battle’s

It’s okay, the other take away is cutting afterburner won’t reduce IR intensity by 50%, only about 0.9% (however it does cut away rangeBand7, so its more effective than 0.9%, but definitely not 50%).
The engine IR intensity only depends on max thrust and current engine RPM, not throttle nor temperature.
100% RPM means 100% IR intensity and RPM always lags behind the throttle, this is one of many reasons why many phantom flare resistance are claimed to exist —— it doesn’t, it’s just Gaijin implemented it wrong, cutting throttle in short notice won’t work.
Thus turn engine off is fastest way to cut RPM and evade a missile, but then you are dead anyway due to lack of energy and slow restart.
If you cut throttle too early, same energy problem as turning engine off.

The test result chart is in this link:

White columns from left to right is: real time thrust, throttle percentage, missile lock distance rear aspect (directly proportional to IR intensity), engine RPM.
You can see a direct correlation between engine RPM and lock distance (IR intensity).

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I wonder MiG-29SMT (9.19) from leak carry R-73 and carry R-73M ?

Not the thread for discussion on leaks. Also, I don’t consider leaks at all. I’ll wait for official news.

R-73 variants:

R-73 (Izdelie 72, R-73E, RMD-1)

  • base R-73 variant
  • MK-80 seeker, ±45° lock angle before launch
  • 30 km range


R-73L (R-73EL)

  • base R-73 with laser proxy fuze


R-73M (RMD-2)

  • ±60 lock angle before launch
  • 40 km range

K-74ME (export R-73M (?))



R-74 (Izdelie 740)

  • same as base R-73, produced by “Kurganpribor”

R-74M (Izdelie 750, RVV-MD)

  • ±60 lock angle before launch
  • dual band
  • 40 km range

Авиационная управляемая ракета РВВ-МД

R-74M2 (Izdelie 760, RVV-MD2)

  • ±60 (±180 with DL) lock angle before launch
  • dual band
  • 50 km range
  • IOG+DL

unclear status/not produced
planned for mass production

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Afaik RMD-2 and R-73M are not the same thing, its just a common error it seems


Victor Markovsky’s book on Russian Air to Air missiles describes R-73M as being seperate from RMD-2 and R-73M have 90 degree off boresight capability


From Aviation week article from 1995 an interview with Vympel General designer Gennady A. Sokolovsky describes R-73 having 60 degree off boresight capability (RMD-2) being around for around 10 years which implies the RMD-2 is a midproduction change with an increase in capabilities (60 degree off boresight over 45 degrees. Also corroborates the R-73M having 90 degrees off boresight capability. However due to the R-73M just disappearing from mentions past the 1990s it can be assumed perhaps the R-73M never made it into production due to costs of the 90 degree seeker and instead the R-74 (RVV-MD) was produced as a cheaper alternative which seems to be an upgraded RMD-2

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That’s why I colored it in grey. From what I understand only actually mass produced missiles are:

R-73(E) produced by Dux (Moscow Machine-building Plant “Kommunar”)

RVV-MD (R-74M, Izdelie 750) produced
by Dux РВВ-МД
and Kurganpribor


And currently RVV-MD2 (R-74M2, Izdelie 760) is planed to be produced

I’ve never seen official mention of R-73M/RMD-1

R-74 is absolutely same as base R-73, that’s what I was told

my understanding of R-74s is that they are RMD-2s with improved IRCCM and all around technology, RMD-2 has a fair bit of information out there but production status is unclear beyond RMD-1 and R-74s

It’s RVV-MD (R-74M, Izdelie 750) Авиационная управляемая ракета РВВ-МД (dual band, ±60 deg lock angle, 40 km range). I don’t have official proof that Russian RVV-MD is called R-74M, but it’s by logic.
RVV-MD (Izdelie 750) → RVV-MD2 (Izdelie 760) (missile for Su-57)
R-74M → R-74M2

RVV-MD is 750 and RVV-MD2 is 760 for sure.


yeah Ive also seen stuff interchangeably use R-73M and R-74 to refer to the same missile its very possible they were both the same missile but due to costs/complexity they had to make a simplified missile which lead to the R-74M similar to MiG-27K—>MiG-27M

ofc the R-73M and R-74 could also be seperate too and the R-73M could be its own thing entirely

I belive R-73M/RMD-1 project died somewhere in russian 90-00’ crisis and this project in 10’ turned into actually mass produced RVV-MD

That’s what I think, R-73M definetely died by the late 90s all mention of it pretty much cease and R-74 mentions first start to appear around 1997 but nothing came of that until the RVV-MD in the late 2000s which itself seems to be a stop gap until the R-74M2 enters production

I belive you mean K-74ME showed on MAKS-97



It didn’t even get “R” name, “K” name is project name and it was only showed as mockup, so yeah, dead project

Here are changes I datamined in the R-73:


TLDR: TVC is higher angle (near double), missile now has AoA limiter, seeker FOV after launch got cut in half (this means when missile is within 1-1.5km it should be very hard to flare unless the launch angle is weird), missile starts tracking after .15s instead of .3s, proxy fuse range increased to 6m instead of 3m

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