Russia to equip Su-35s fighters with ultra-long-range R-37M missile soon

Since entering service in 2016 in the Swedish Air Force, METEOR's very long-range European air-to-air missile is universally recognized as the best missile in its class, with a (public) range given to exceed 150 km. But for 4 years, Moscow has also launched its own very long range missile program, like Washington with the AIM-260, with the R-37M missile from the Vympel company capable, according to Russian public data, of hitting targets up to 400 km away. The program is now close to its entry into service, to the point that the Russian authorities have broadcast in the national media a video showing, among other things, the carrying and firing tests of the missile from the S-35s fighter.

R37 is not what we can call a new program. Indeed, it was initially launched in the 80s to equip the Mig-31 interceptors with a very long range missile. During tests in the early 90s, a missile managed to hit a target almost 300 km away. But faced with the Russian economic collapse, and the disappearance of the opposition between NATO and the Warsaw Pact, the program was stopped in 1998, without the missile entering service. However, in 2006, the program was reactivated by the Russian authorities, again to equip the Mig-31, but also to equip, subsequently, new combat aircraft, such as the Su-35S and the future Su-57. With a new powder propellant extending the range of the missile to 400 km, and modernized electronics to adapt to the new radars, the new missile was designated R-37M.

Video of the tests of the R37M from the Su35s with, as a bonus, a view of the flight of the Su-57 in convertible version.

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