R-27ET

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Description

In the late 1980s, as part of the second generation upgrade program for the R-27 family of missiles, a new motor with almost twice the speed and range replaced the older one, as per the modular design of the R-27 family. The resulting heat-seeking variant, dubbed the R-27ET, also received upgraded electronics, resulting in better tracking and slight weight savings. This missile would go on to fill the role of a fire-and-forget medium-long range missile for not only the Soviet air force, but its successor nations and all the export operators who flew the MiG-29 and Su-27.

The R-27ET is a top-rank IR-guided missile, introduced in Update "Sons of Attila". It brings back a familiar playstyle to the hands of top tier pilots who are already familiar with the R-27T, but also bringing with it the upgraded motor from the R-27ER, almost doubling the speed and range of the missile. These features, along with the increased flare resistance, allow the R-27ET to wreak havoc on unsuspecting enemy aircraft, and is particularly dangerous against distracted targets at longer ranges due to its passive seeker, which does not give the enemy aircraft any warning, unlike its SARH brother the R-27ER.

Vehicles equipped with this weapon

R-27ET
R-27ET1

General info

Missile characteristics
Mass 343 kg
Guidance IR
Aspect All-aspects
Lock range (rear-aspect) 18 km
Lock range (all-aspect) 4.8 km
IRCCM Yes
Launch range 100 km
Maximum speed 5.8 M
Maximum overload 35 G
Missile guidance time 60 secs
Explosive mass 24 kg TNTe

Effective damage

Describe the type of damage produced by this type of missile (high explosive, splash damage, etc)

Comparison with analogues

Give a comparative description of missiles that have firepower equal to this weapon.

Usage in battles

The R-27ET is a medium range IR-guided missile available at the top ranks. At these ranks, most pilots have mastered the art of maintaining situational awareness, making longer burning missiles such as the R530 and R-27T less effective. However, the R-27ETs increased speed and range allows it to wreak havoc on enemy aircraft in specific circumstances. The missile can be best utilized in one of three scenarios in Air Realistic Battles.

Medium range rear aspect missile

The best case scenario for the R-27ET, just like its smaller brother the R-27T, is in direct rear aspect of an enemy aircraft. White the R-27ET's upgraded motor allows it to be fired as far back as 8 km in a full speed tail chase, and still hit its target, the true reason the R-27T and ET shine in rear aspect is because this is when their ECCM is most effective, with the missile almost completely disregarding countermeasures below 5 km if the target aircraft keeps the incoming missile directly in its rear aspect. This allows the R-27ET to become the ultimate tool for dispatching players who have an advantage in speed over you, shutting down any thought they may have about easily running away from you. The R-27ET will almost always either secure the kill in rear aspect when used in this scenario, or will force the enemy aircraft to make a complete turn to remove the missile from its rear aspect, allowing it to flare the missile away (and allowing you to close the distance to use guns or a short range missile). This scenario is especially helpful for aircraft which have sub-par top speed compared to their adversaries, such as the Yak-141, allowing it to use this tactic with the R-27ET to its advantage.

Furball missile

Another scenario where the R-27ET shines is against distracted targets. Unlike its brother, the R-27ER, which uses a semi-active radar seeker, which requires a radar lock to be guided and would give the enemy aircraft an audible warning on its radar warning receiver of the incoming threat, the R-27ET utilizes a passive IR seeker, which gives no warning to the targeted aircraft. Because of this, it is up to the target aircraft to maintain good situational awareness and identify the incoming R-27ET, and evade accordingly, before its too late. And with the convoluted nature of top tier air battles, players might often be distracted, especially in the "furball" of the match. This makes them prime targets for the R-27ET, especially when slaved with the IRST targeting system or a HMD HOBS launch to truly enact a "stealth attack" that the enemy wont see coming.

Medium-range anti-airfield missile

Another scenario for the R-27ET, is an "anti-airfield" missile. Due to the range and "fire and forget" nature of the R-27ET, it can easily dispatch aircraft that are slow during take-off or landing from very long distances. Often times, these aircraft are also too slow to properly evade the incoming missile if they do see it. This tactic is only advised during long EC games or during the late-game of an air RB match, where team composition no longer matters and you might be hunting down the last player or two on the enemy team as they attempt to RTB. This tactic is exceptionally useful with the Yak-141, especially in Air Simulator Battles, as the Yak-141 can hover at low altitude or even land in a field 7-10 km away from the enemy airfield (Roland-1 SAMs self destruct at 6.5 km) using VTOL, and simply wait for the last player or two to show up at their airfield, then pounce on the unsuspecting players with R-27ETs as they are landing. This tactic for the Yak-141 is best used in a squad with friends as a second player can provide air cover for the hovering/landed Yak in case things go wrong.

Air/Ground Simulator Battles and Ground Realistic Battles

In Air Simulator EC and the mentioned mixed battle game modes, there is no missile diamond/warning indicator on screen like there is in Air Realistic Battles. This makes "stealth attack" R-27ETs, targeted in HOBS with HMD or IRST, a very lethal weapon for dispatching enemy aircraft who will most likely not see the missile coming until it is too late. Make sure to not use the radar, even for continuous searching, during these scenarios, as that will most likely give away your position and aircraft type on enemy RWRs. At most, in Simulator Battles due to the lack of friendly markers at range, only do a single search "sweep" with the radar to identify if the target aircraft is friendly or not with the IFF system. Otherwise, maintain your "stealth attack" setup with IRST or HMD, and fire the R-27ET as you would with any heat-seeking missile, as to not give the enemy a warning about the incoming missile until its too late.

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • Great seeker filtration, practically immune to flares in rear aspect at most ranges, and any aspect at very close ranges
  • Strong acceleration, speed, and range
  • Great manoeuvrability (35G overload)
  • Powerful warhead, almost no aircraft can survive a direct hit from one

Cons:

  • Large fins bleed energy very quickly
  • Limited quantity on carrier aircraft (only two)
  • Can be very easily flared at range

History

Following the incredible advancement and success of the R-24 missile, which was on par (if not ahead) of its adversaries at the time of introduction, OKB Vympel set out to further upgrade the missile, as the R-24 still had a few shortcomings. Mainly, it had sub-par range compared to new contemporary missiles entering the battlefield, such as the AIM-7F, due to the lack of a second stage booster and optimized control surfaces for the glide phase of the flight. The missile was also limited by the radar of its launcher aircraft, the third generation variants of the MiG-23 fitted with the Saphir 23ML radar or newer, had subpar radar capability compared to their adversaries. Learning from these errors, OKB Vympel set out create a new, modular medium-long range missile on the basis of the older R-24, for the new generation of Soviet fighters on the horizon. This new missile would arm the future "Project 9" from Mikoyan, which would become the MiG-29, and the T-10 Prototype from Sukhoi, which would become the Su-27. The missile design requirements were very ambitious, but nonetheless, the modular design of the R-27 helped ease these hurdles, and allowed the missile to be fielded in many different variants.

The R-27ET variant was part of the second generation of the R-27 family. By its modular design, the "E" stands for "Energovo-oroozhonaya", which translates into "High-powered", meaning that the solid fuel rocket motor was replaced with a larger one, almost doubling the speed and range of the missile. The "T", as is in Soviet missile nomenclature, means that the missile was heat-seeking, in contrary to the "R" designation (as found on the R-27ER) which stands for semi-active radar guided. The R-27ET was primarily created to fill the gap of a medium range IR missile in GCI scenarios where the first generation R-27T's range would be insufficient to engage enemy fighters from a safe distance.

The role of the R-27ET as the medium-long range "fire and forget" missile would eventually be supplemented by the R-27EA (the "A" suffix standing for "Active", as this variant was active-radar guided, similarly to an AIM-120 AMRAAM) and eventually replaced altogether by the R-77. The missile still finds use today with many countries flying various models of the MiG-29 or Su-27 family. Extra leftover stockpiles of the R-27ET have also been adapted into a surface-to-air missile role by Israel and Yemen, in the form of the Samar 1 and the Thaqeb systems respectively, with the latter being credited with heavily damaging a Saudi F-15E in March 2018 during a strike on the Saada Province.

Media

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See also

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External links

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Missiles
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USSR 
AAM  9M39 Igla · R-3R · R-3S · R-13M1 · R-23R · R-23T · R-24R · R-24T · R-27ER(1) · R-27ET(1) · R-27R(1) · R-27T(1) · R-60 · R-60M · R-60MK · R-73(E) · R-77
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Naval SAM  Volna-M
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Israel 
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ATGM  Spike-LR2 · Spike-MR
  AAM = Air-to-Air Missile   AGM = Air-to-Ground Missile   AShM = Anti-Ship Missile   ATGM = Anti-Tank Guided Missile (Ground mounts)   SAM = Surface-to-Air Missile