The Middle East is rich with all sorts of Russian-made anti-aircraft systems. Most of them were delivered to the Arab countries opposing Israel and, in the time of the Soviet Union, to other clients on a political pretext.
Active radar homing
A surface-to-air version of the Vympel R-77 AAM was displayed at the recent MAKS 2013 Moscow Air Show. The SAM system was developed jointly by Almaz-Antei and Tactical Missile Corp. (Russian acronym TRV). Housed in a container weighing 360 pounds, the weapon has a firing range greater than 10 miles and a ceiling of more than 30,000 feet. “A number of foreign customers have repeatedly asked us for this application of the missile,” said Boris Obnosov, TRV general director.
On display here and ready for export, Europe’s own state-of-the-art air defense system has now demonstrated its anti-tactical ballistic missile (TBM) capability three times. In the most recent test two months ago, the MBDA Aster 30 missile successfully intercepted a target representing a TBM fired from 185 miles away. Unlike the first two anti-TBM tests, this one was fully coordinated within the NATO command-and-control structure.
Last month Raytheon and Kongsberg conducted the first firing of the Evolved Sea Sparrow missile (ESSM) from the NASAMS (Norwegian advanced surface-to-air missile system). The June 24 firing at Norway’s Andøya Rocket Range not only validated the ability to fire the ESSM with the system, but also the ability to integrate an older-generation Hawk high-power illuminator into the system.
Intended to arm the ‘Euro-canards’ (Gripen, Rafale and Typhoon) and possibly integrate into the RAF’s JSFs, the MBDA Meteor ramjet-powered missile is taking giant strides towards service entry. Recent successful guided firings have paved the way for trials of production-representative missiles, keeping the program on track for an in-service date of 2013.