Novator R-172 (missile)

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A new Russian long-range air-to-air missile, the Novator R-172, was originally defined as an "AWACS-killer", or, in general, a means of attacking well-defended high-value assets such as tanker and C3I-ISR aircraft.[1] It has also been known as the KS-172, a derivative of the Vympel R-37 (missile). With and without a booster stage, a range of 160 or 215 nmi has been claimed. [1]

The missile will use the Irbis, or Irbis-E, X-band radar.[2]

Definitely destined for the Su-35 (fighter), which is meant to be competitive in the export market, the missile may be integrated with Indian Su-30 (fighter) aircraft. [3]

There are similarities between the R-172 and the experimental U.S. Network Centric Airborne Defense Element (missile) (NCADE). While NCADE is initially intended as an air-launched anti-ballistic missile, it could also be used against high value assets.

In like manner, the R-172 potentially could be adapted to an ABM role, but the differences between the two must be remembered. Against large, slow, but well-protected targets, long range is the critical requirement. Against a fast booster, perhaps accelerating at an unpredicatable rate, moderate range but high maneuverability is needed. The R-172, to be a boost phase interceptor, would have to add a small maneuvering kill vehicle.


  1. 1.0 1.1 Kopp, Carlo, "Hard Kill Counter-ISR Programs", Air Power Australia
  2. "Irbis",
  3. India Defence Consultants with Sayan Majumdar (July 19, 2004), Nuclear Deterrence -- choice for IAF