Like Mig-21Bis, R-73E short-range air-to-air missile was on verge of retirement after IAF planned to replace them with much improved European heat seeking Advanced Short Range Air-to-Air Missile (ASRAAM) among all platform,but missile system received a much-needed boost to the image when R-73E a Standard missile model procured in the ’80s managed to bring down a Pakistani F-16 last month.

ASRAAM procurement will be on and will be standard air to air missile system on all current and future aircraft but due to high procurement cost, Sources close to have informed India is now actively considering procuring improved model of the missile system called K-74M which Russia has developed to be armed on next generation Mig-35, Sukhoi-35 and Sukhoi-57 fighter aircrafts.

ASRAAM will be locally manufactured in India with a minor transfer of technology and will be equipped across Western, Indian and Russian platforms but not having a secondary Close Combat Missile (CCM) as a supplement to ASRAAM was also bothering IAF military planners.

An improved version of the R-73E called K-74M features fully digital and re-programmable systems and has a ±75° off-boresight compared to ±45° off-boresight found in R-73E and also comes with a greater range of 40km from the previous 30km. K-74M also has improved Infrared Counter-Counter-Measures.

Russian officials are electrified with the performance of the R-73E missile system since it was first killing of American aircraft by the missile system in its entire history since its induction from 1984.K-74M is second major upgrade missile system has received in last 30 years and according to Russian officials is comparable to European ASRAAM in performance and will be integrated into all leading fighter aircrafts of Russian Airforce and a modified variant specifically designed for operations from internal bay of Su-57 also has been developed and tested successfully.


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