K-100 (missile)

The Novator K-100 is a Russian air-to-air missile designed as an "AWACS killer"[4] at ranges up to 200 km. The missile has had various names during its troubled history, including Izdeliye 172 ('Article 172'), AAM-L (RVV-L), KS–172, KS-1, 172S-1 and R-172. The airframe appears to have been derived from the 9K37 Buk surface-to-air missile (SAM) but development stalled in the mid-1990s for lack of funds. It appears to have restarted in 2004 after a deal with India, who wants to produce the missile in India for their Su-30MKI fighters. It is the heaviest air-to-air missile ever produced.

K-100 (missile)
Class Missile
Type Air to Air
Manufacturer NPO Novator
Origin Russia (USSR)
Country Name Origin Year
India 1991
Russia (USSR) 1991
Country Name Operational Year Retirement Year
India View
Russia (USSR) View
ManufacturerName Production From Production To Quantity
NPO Novator View
Defence Research and Development Organisation View

Modern airforces have become dependent on airborne radars typically carried by converted airliners and transport aircraft such as the E-3 Sentry and A-50 'Mainstay'. They also depend on similar aircraft for inflight refuelling (e.g. Vickers VC10), maritime patrol (e.g. CP-140 Aurora), reconnaissance and electronic warfare (e.g. Tu-16 'Badger' E & J) and C4ISTAR (e.g. VC-25 "Air Force One"). The loss of just one of these aircraft can have a significant effect on fighting capability, and they are usually heavily defended by fighter escorts. A long-range air-to-air missile offers the prospect of bringing down the target without having to fight a way through the fighter screen. Given the potential importance of "blinding" Western AWACS, Russia has devoted considerable resources to this area. The Vympel R-37 (AA-13 'Arrow') is an evolution of their R-33 (AA-9 'Amos') with a range of up to 400 km (220 nmi), and there have been persistent rumours – if little hard evidence – of an air-to-air missile with a range of 200 km (110 nmi) based on Zvezda's Kh-31 anti-radar/anti-shipping missile or its Chinese derivative, the YJ-91.

NPO Novator started work in 1991 on a very long-range air-to-air missile with the Russian project designation Izdeliye 172. Initially called the AAM-L (RVV-L), it made its first public appearance at the International Defence Exhibition in Abu Dhabi in early 1993, followed by the Moscow Air Show later that year. It was described as having a range of 400 km (220 nmi); the mockup on display had a strong resemblance to the 9K37M1 Buk-M (SA-11 'Gadfly'). Apparently some flight-testing was done on a Su-27, but it appears that the Russians withdrew funding for the project soon afterwards.

The missile resurfaced as the KS–172 in 1999, as part of a new export-led strategy whereby foreign investment in a 300 km (160 nmi)-range export model would ultimately fund a version for the Russian airforce. Again it appears that there were no takers.

In late 2003, the missile was offered again on the export market as the 172S-1. In March 2004, India was reported to have invested in the project and to be "negotiating a partnership" to develop the "R-172". In May 2005 the Indians were said to have finalised "an arrangement to fund final development and licence produce the weapon" in a joint venture similar to that which produced the successful BrahMos cruise missile. Since then the missile has had a higher profile, appearing at the 2005 Moscow Air Show on a Su-30 as the K-172, and a modified version being shown at the 2007 Moscow Air Show designated as the K-100-1. This name first appeared in a Sukhoi document in 2006, and sources such as Jane's now refer to the missile as the K-100.

As India is the main investor in the K-100, it would first see service on her Su-30MKI aircraft. Russia might be a customer, depending on funding. No in-service date has yet been suggested.

Type Long range air-to-air missile
Place of origin Russia & India
Production history
Manufacturer NPO Novator & DRDO
Weight 748 kg (1,650 lb) (KS–172)
Length 6.01 m (19.7 ft) + 1.4 m (4.6 ft) (KS–172)
Diameter 40 cm (16 in) (KS–172)
Warhead HE fragmentation (KS–172)
Warhead weight 50 kg (110 lb)
Engine Solid-propellant tandem rocket booster (KS–172)
Wingspan 61 cm (24 in) (KS–172)
At least 200 km, possibly 300–400 km (160–210 nmi)
Flight altitude 3 m (9.8 ft)–30,000 m (98,000 ft) (KS–172)
Speed 4,000 km/h (2,500 mph; 1.1 km/s; Mach 3.3) (KS–172)
inertial navigation with midcourse guidance and terminal active radar homing (KS–172)
Su-27, Su-30, Su-35, Su-30MKI PAK FA(expected)

End notes