"Latvia" Former Soviet Union Military Bases
Vaiņode Former Soviet Union Aerodrome Army Air Force Base Aircraft
Aircraft Armament that could have been found at Vaiņode Former Soviet Union Aerodrome Army Air Force Base 
Lat: N56.41104, Lon: E021.89177
Vaiņodes muiža 7, Vaiņode, Latvia
MiG-23MLD "Flogger" Armament
  • 1x Gryazev-Shipunov GSh-23L 23mm Cannon with 200 Rounds
  • Two fuselage, two wing glove, and two wing pylons for up to 3,000kg "6,610 pounds" of stores, including:
  • R-23/24 AA-7 "Apex"
  • R-60 AA-8 "Aphid" 
                           GSh-23 mounted on a Ilyushin Il-102                                                                 Gryazev-Shipunov GSh-23L 23mm Cannon with 200 rounds
The Gryazev-Shipunov GSh-23 "ГШ-23" is a twin-barreled 23mm autocannon developed in the Soviet Union, primarily for military aircraft use. It entered service in 1965, replacing the earlier Nudelman-Rikhter NR-23 cannon.
The GSh-23 works on the Gast Gun principle [See Appendix VIII] developed by German engineer Karl Gast of the Vorwerk company in 1916. It is a twin-barreled weapon in which the firing action of one barrel operates the mechanism of the other. It provides a much faster rate of fire for lower mechanical wear than a single-barrel weapon, although it cannot match the rate of fire of an electric Gatling gun like the M61 Vulcan. The Gast principle has been little used in the West, but was popular in the former Soviet Union on a variety of weapons.
The cannon comes in a basic GSh-23 variant, and the more popular GSh-23L "ГШ-23Л", differing mostly in adding a muzzle brake, lowering recoil force. This cannon was standard fit on late-model MiG-21 fighters "M, SM, MF, SMT, bis", all variants of the MiG-23, the SOKO J-22 Orao, the HAL Tejas and IAR 93, and the tail turrets of the Tupolev Tu-22M bomber and some late-model Tu-95s. In that application, it had the unusual ability to fire infrared flares and chaff rounds, allowing it to function as both a weapon and a dispenser of anti-missile countermeasures. It is also mounted on late small series Mi-24VP helicopters "in the NPPU-23 movable mounting" and Polish W-3WA Sokół helicopter in fixed mounting. The cannon was also used on cargo aircraft; specifically, Russian/Soviet Ilyushin Il-76 aircraft were designed to accommodate twin Gsh-23L's in a tail turret.  An Il-76M with just such a configuration could be seen at the 2002 Ivanovo air-show. 
Some 2nd generation MiG-21 models could carry the GSh-23L in an under-fuselage gondola designated the GP-9, carrying the cannon and 200 rounds of ammunition; this was replaced by a more streamlined semi-conformal installation in later variants. There are also several gun pods available for mounting on external hardpoints: UPK-23 for air-to-air use, with one or two fixed GSh-23 guns and 200-400 rounds of ammunition, and SPPU-22 pods with traversable barrels for strafing, from 0° to −30° and carried 280 rounds of ammunition in each, they were most often carried by the "Su-17/-20/-22" as well as the "Su-25/-39" in pairs.
Gryazev-Shipunov GSh-23L 23mm Cannon Specifications
KBP Instrument Design Bureau
FGUP - Konstruktorskoe Buro Priborostroeniya "KGP" "ФГУП «Конструкторское бюро приборостроения, F.G.U.P. Konstruktorskoe Buro Priborostroeniya; "Federal State Unitary Enterprise - Instument Design Bureau" is a Russian former "Soviet" Developer and Manufacturer of High-Precision Weapons. It was established in 1927 in Tula, USSR [See Appendix XI]. 
Two fuselage, two wing glove, and two wing pylons for up to 3,000kg "6,610 pounds" of stores, including:
R-23/24 "AA-7 "Apex" 
                                 R-23T Missile, R-24R Missile, R-24T Missile
The Vympel [See Appendix XII] R-23 [NATO] reporting name "AA-7 Apex" is a medium-range air-to-air missile developed by the Soviet Union for fighter aircraft. An updated version with greater range, the R-24, replaced it in service. It is comparable to the American AIM-7 Sparrow, both in terms of overall performance as well as role.
Design of a new missile to arm the MiG-23 fighter started in the mid-1960s under the direction of V.A. Pustyakov's design team. Known as the K-23 during its design, the new weapon was intended for use against bomber-sized targets, with "snap-up" capability to attack targets at higher altitude than the launch aircraft. It originally was intended to have a dual-mode seeker using both semi-active radar homing and infrared guidance, but this proved unfeasible, and separate SARH and IR models "zdeliye Product" 340 and 360, respectively were developed instead. Test firings were carried out in 1967, although the SARH missile's seeker head proved to be extremely problematic.
In 1968 the Soviets acquired an AIM-7 and a Vympel team started copying it as the K-25. A comparison of the two led to the K-23 entering production, based largely on its better range and countermeasures resistance. The K-25 work ended in 1971. Nevertheless, several features of the Sparrow were later used in the Vympel R-27 design.
The missile, designated R-23, entered service in January 1974, the SARH version as the R-23R, the IR version R-23T. Both versions used the same motor and warhead, which had a lethal radius of 8m "26 feet". In the west these were known as the AA-7A and AA-7B, respectively. An inert training round, the R-23UT, was also developed.
The airframe featured four delta wings arranged cruciform just behind the midpoint of the fuselage, and cropped-delta control surfaces at the extreme rear in-line with the wings. Smaller cropped-triangular surfaces are mounted in-line near the nose "their purpose is unclear". The only external difference between the two versions was the nose cone, which was an ogive for the SARH seeker, and shorter "by 30cm" and more rounded for the IR version.
Maximum range for the R-23R is 35km, and for the infrared version R-23T is 15km. 
Large numbers of R-23s were built., both by Molniya "ex OKB-4" as well as Vympel "ex OKB-134" [See Appendix I]. The R-23 was also produced under license in Romania as the A-911.
Starting in 1975 an improved version of the weapon was developed to arm the MiG-23ML/MLD. The resultant SARH R-24R had lock-on after launch capability and expanded range up to "50km" and altitude capability up to "25,000 m/82,000 feet", while the IR R-24T had a much improved seeker with greater sensitivity. Both versions had a larger motor, a heavier warhead, and a greatly reduced minimum range of 500m "1,600 feet" for a rear-quarter engagement. They also could be used by or against aircraft maneuvering at up to 7g. The missiles were known officially as izdeliye "Product" 140 and 160 in the USSR, and AA-7C and AA-7D in the west.
The R-24 remained in at least limited Russian service until the withdrawal of the last Russian MiG-23s in 1997.
R-23/24 "AA-7 "Apex" Specifications
  • Length: "R-23R, R-24R" 4.5m "14 feet 9 inches"; "R-23T, R-24T" 4.2m "13 feet 9 inches"
  • Wingspan: 1m "3 feet 5 inches"
  • Diameter: 223mm "8.8 inches"
  • Launch Weight: "R-23R, R-24R" 222kg "489 pounds", 243kg "536 pounds; "R-23T, R-24T" 215kg "474 pounds", 235kg "518 pounds"
  • Speed: Mach 3
  • Range: "R-23R" 35km "22 miles"; "R-24R" 50km "31 miles"; "R-23T, R-24T" 15km "9.4 miles"
  • Guidance: "R-23R, R-24R" SARH; "R-23T, R-24T", Infrared-Homing
  • Warhead: Expanding-rod high explosive with proximity fuze, 25kg "55 pounds" "R-23" or 35kg "77 pounds" "R-24"
R-60 – AA-8 "Aphid" 
                                                                           Molniya R-60                                                                                                  Two R-60 missiles mounted on a MiG-29K
The Molniya now "Vympel" R-60 [NATO] reporting name "AA-8 'Aphid' is a lightweight air-to-air missile designed for use by Soviet fighter aircraft. It has been widely exported, and remains in service with the CIS and many other nations.
The R-60 was initially developed for the MiG-23. Work began on the weapon, under the bureau designation K-60 "izdeliye 62", in the late 1960s. Series production began in 1973. It entered service with the designation R-60 [NATO] 
When introduced, the R-60 was one of the world's smallest air-to-air missiles, with a launch weight of 44 kg "97 pounds". It has infrared guidance, with an un-cooled Komar "Mosquito" seeker head. Control is by forward rudders with large rear fins. The distinctive canards on the nose, known as "destabilizers," serve to improve the rudders' efficiency at high angles of attack. The R-60 uses a small, 3kg "6.5 pounds" expanding-rod high explosive warhead. Two different types of proximity fuze can be fitted: the standard Strizh "Swift" optical fuse, which can be replaced with a Kolibri active radar fuse. Missiles equipped with the latter fuse were designated R-60K. 
According to Russian sources, practical engagement range is about 4,000m "4,400 yards", although "brochure range" is 8km "5 miles" at high altitude. The weapon was at until recently one of the most agile air to air missiles, and can be used by aircraft maneuvering at up to 9g against targets maneuvering at up to 8g. A tactical advantage is the short minimum range of only 300m "328 yards".
Considering that Soviet practice was to manufacture most air-to-air missiles with interchangeable IR-homer and semi-active radar homing seekers, [NATO] speculated that there might have been a SARH version of the 'Aphid.' However, it is clear that the small size of the 'Aphid' makes a radar-homing version with an antenna of reasonable size impractical, and no such weapon appears to have been contemplated.
An inert training version, alternatively designated UZ-62 and UZR-60, was also built.
An upgraded version, the R-60M [NATO] "Aphid-B", using a nitrogen-cooled seeker with an expanded view angle of ±20°, was introduced around 1982. Although its seeker is more sensitive than its predecessor, the R-60M has only limited all-aspect capability. Minimum engagement range was further reduced, to only 200m "218.7 yards".  The proximity fuzes had improved resistance to "ECM", although both optical and radar fuzes remained available "radar-fuzed
R-60Ms with the Kolibri-M fuze are designated R-60KM". The R-60M is 42mm "1.7 inches" longer, and has a heavier, 3.5kg "7.7 pounds" continuous-rod warhead, increasing launch weight to 45kg "99 pounds". In some versions the warhead is apparently laced with about 1.6kg "3.5 pounds" of depleted uranium to increase the penetrating power of the warhead. 
The inert training version of the R-60M was the R-60MU.
Since 1999, a modified version of the weapon has been used as a surface-to-air missile "SAM" as part of the Yugoslav M55A3B1 towed anti-aircraft artillery system. It has also been seen carried on a twin rail mount on a modified M53/59 Praga armored SPAAG of "former" Czechoslovakian origin. These missiles have been modified with the addition of a first stage booster motor, with the missile's own motor becoming the sustainer. This was done in lieu of modifying the missile's motor for ground launch, as in the case of the US MIM-72 Chaparral.
The current Russian dog fight missile is the Vympel R-73 AA-11 "Archer", but large numbers of 'Aphids' remain in service.
Molniya R-60 Specifications
Upgraded Aircraft May Carry 
Vympel R-27 AA-10 "Alamo" Missile
                                                           Vympel R-27T AA-10 "Alamo" Missile
The Vympel R-27 missile with the [NATO] reporting name AA-10 "Alamo" is a medium-to-long-range air-to-air missile developed by the Soviet Union. It remains in service with the Russian Air Force and air forces of the former 
Commonwealth of Independent States.
The R-27 is manufactured in infrared-homing "R-27T", semi-active-radar-homing "R-27R", and active-radar-homing "R-27AE" versions, in both Russia and the Ukraine. The R-27 missile is carried by the Mikoyan MiG-29 and Sukhoi Su-27 fighters, and some of the later-model MiG-23MLD fighters have also been adapted to carry it. The R-27 missile is also license-produced in the PRC, though the production license was bought from Ukraine instead of Russia. The Chinese versions have a different active radar seeker taken from the Vympel R-77 missile, which was sold to the PRC by Russia.
  • R-27R AA-10 Alamo-A, semi-active radar homing. Launch range from Mach 1.4, 11km altitude: 60km "head-on" / 21km "tail-on". Minimum launch range under same conditions 2km "head-on" / 0.5 to 0.6 km "tail-on". Up to 80 km under optimal conditions.
  • R-27T AA-10 Alamo-B, infrared homing, passive homing using the Avtomatika 9B-1032 "PRGS-27" IR seeker head. Weight 248kg. Range is said to be 70km under optimal conditions. The R-27T missile does not possess a data-link,  which makes it useful only at much shorter ranges at head-on engagements, however. At tail-on engagements the longer physical reach can be fully utilized.
  • R-27ER AA-10 Alamo-C, the semi-active-radar homing extended-range version, which is 70 cm longer and slightly wider. Range up to 130 km under optimal conditions. Entered service 1990.
  • R-27ET AA-10 Alamo-D, the infrared-homing extended-range version, which is 70 cm longer and slightly wider, range of 120 km under optimal conditions using the Avtomatika 9B-1032 "PRGS-27" seeker head. Weight 348 kg. Entered service in 1990. The R-27ET missile does not possess a data-link, which makes it useful only at much shorter ranges at head-on engagements, however. At tail-on engagements the longer physical reach can be fully utilized.
  • R-27P AA-10 Alamo-E, passive radar homing with a range of up to 72km.
  • R-27EP AA-10 Alamo-F, a longer range passive anti-radiation missile with a range of up to 70nm "130km"
Vympel R-27R Specifications
Vympel R-73 AA-11 "Archer" 
                                                                                                   Vympel R-73 [NATO] AA-11 Archer
The Vympel R-73 [NATO] reporting name "AA-11 Archer" is a short-range air-to-air missile developed by Vympel NPO, [See Appendix XII] that entered service in 1982.
The R-73 was developed to replace the earlier R-60 – AA-8 "Aphid" weapon for short-range use by Soviet fighter aircraft. Work began in 1973, and the first missiles entered service in 1982.
The R-73 is an infrared-guided "heat-seeking" missile with a sensitive, cryogenic cooled seeker with a substantial "off-boresight" capability: the seeker can "see" targets up to 60° off the missile's centerline. It can be targeted by a helmet-mounted sight "HMS" allowing pilots to designate targets by looking at them. Minimum engagement range is about 300 meters, with maximum aerodynamic range of nearly 30km "19 miles" at altitude.
The R-73 is a highly maneuverable missile and mock dogfights have indicated that the high degree of "off-boresight" capability of the R-73 would make a significant difference in combat. The missile also has a mechanically simple but effective system for thrust-vectoring. Altogether this prompted the development of the Sidewinder and other SRM successors like AIM-132 ASRAAM, IRIS-T, MICA IR, Python IV and the latest Sidewinder variant, AIM-9X, that entered squadron service in 2003.
From 1994 the R-73 has been upgraded in production to the R-73M standard, which entered CIS service in 1997. The R-73M has greater range and a wider seeker angle "to 60° off-boresight", as well as improved IRCCM "Infra-Red Counter-Counter-Measures".
An improved version of the R-73M, the R-74M features fully digital and re-programmable systems, and is intended for use on the MiG-35 or MiG-29K/M/M2 and Su-27SM, Su-30MK and Su-35BM.
The weapon is used by the MiG-29, MiG-31, Su-27, Su-34 and Su-35, and can be carried by newer versions of the MiG-21, MiG-23, Sukhoi Su-24, and Su-25 aircraft. India is looking to use the missile on their HAL Tejas. It can also be carried by Russian attack helicopters, including the Mil Mi-24, Mil Mi-28, and Kamov Ka-50.
                                                           Vympel R-73
Vympel R-73 Specifications
R-77 "RVV-AE" "AA-12 Adder" Missile
                                  R-77 "RVV-AE" "AA-12 Adder" Missile
The Russian R-77 "RVV-AE" Missile [NATO] reporting name: AA-12 "Adder" is a medium range, air-to-air, active radar-guided missile system. It is the Russian counterpart to the American AIM-120 AMRAAM missile, thus gaining a nickname: "Amraamski".
Work on the R-77 began in 1982. It represented Russia's first multi-purpose missile for both tactical and strategic aircraft for fire-and-forget use against a range of aircraft from hovering helicopters to high speed, low altitude aircraft. Gennadiy Sokolovski, general designer of the Vympel Design Bureau, said that the R-77 missile can be used against medium and long range air-to-air missiles such as the AIM-120 AMRAAM and AIM-54 Phoenix, as well as SAMs such as the Patriot. It can be used against cruise missiles and precision-guided munitions "PGMs". First seen in 1992 at the MosAeroshow '92, the R-77RVV-AE was immediately nicknamed "Amraamski" by Western journalists. The Russian-language version of the acronym for the weapon is RVV-AE and it is also known as the Izdieliye-170 "Product-170".
The R-77 can be used by most of the Russian Air Force fighter aircraft, since many of their aircraft, primarily MiG-29, Su-27 and MiG-31, were upgraded recently. The same is true for the PLAAF of China, who use the Su-27 as well as a copy, the J-11. The newer Su-30MKK has a N001 "Su-27 radar" with a digital bypass channel incorporating a mode allowing it to use R-77s. Newer Russian aircraft from the MiG-29S "N019M radar" onward are not restricted in this regard.
There are other variants under development. One has an upgraded motor to boost range at high altitudes to as much as 120–160 km; it is known as the R-77RVV-AE-PD. The "PD" stands for "Povyshenoy Dalnosti", which in Russian means Improved Range. This variant has been test-fired and uses a solid-fuel ramjet engine. Its range puts it in the long-range class and is equivalent in range to the AIM-54 Phoenix. In another version of the R-77, a terminal infra-red homing seeker is offered. This is in line with the Russian practice of attacking targets by firing pairs of missiles with different homing systems. This complicates end-game defensive actions for the target aircraft, as it needs to successfully
defeat two homing systems. This method of attack may not always be available as IR seekers typically have less range and less resistance to poor weather than radar seekers, which may limit the successful use of mixed seeker attacks
unless the IR missile is initially directed by radar or some other means.
The weapon has a laser fuze and an expanding rod warhead that can destroy the variable sized targets. A product-improvement of the R-77 Adder is in the works, codenamed the R-77M1, and will feature a ramjet propulsion device. This heavier missile system will have a much greater range, and will surely be the primary beyond visual range "BVR" air-to-air weapon in upcoming fifth generation Russian frontline fighters.
The radar-guided R-77 has been sold widely, with China and India placing significant orders for the weapon, as was the case for the R-73. The baseline R-77 was designed in the 1980s, with development complete by around 1994. India was the first export customer for the export variant, known as the RVV-AE, with the final batch delivered in 2002. 
Vympel was the victim of a lack of adequate funding during the 1990s and the first part of this decade to support further evolution of the R-77, either for the Russian air force or the export market. The basic version of the R-77 is not thought to have entered the Russian air force inventory in significant numbers.
Additionally, Western suppliers have been pushing into some traditionally Russian markets and some major customers of the R-77 such as India and China have been pursuing their own missile programs, with similar goals, such as the Astra and the PL-12, respectively.
Further Developments
Tactical Missile Corp., also known as "TRV" [See Appendix XXII], unveiled its so-called RVV-SD and RVV-MD missiles for the first time at the Moscow air show in August 2009. The RVV-SD is an improved version of the R-77 – AA-12 "Adder", while the RVV-MD is a variant of the R-73 – AA-11 "Archer". 
The RVV-SD, along with the RVV-MD, seem to be part of Russia's bid for India's medium multirole combat aircraft competition. Both designations were included by MiG on a presentation covering MiG-35 Fulcrum armament during Aero India Air Show in February.
The basic R-77 is known as the Article 170, and the RVV-SD includes the upgrades associated with the Article 170-1 designation. The 170-1 development has been underway for some time, and testing is believed to have been carried out. The RVV-SD is in effect the export variant of the 170-1.
According to information released by the company, the missile is 15kg "33 pounds" heavier than the basic R-77/RVV-AE, weighing 190kg "420 pounds" rather than 175kg "390 pounds". Maximum range is increased to 110km "68 miles" from 80km "50 miles". The missile is also slightly longer at 3.71 meters "12.2 feet", rather than the 3.6 meters "12 feet" of the basic variant.
The radar seeker has also probably been upgraded. Russian missile manufacturer Agat previously confirmed it was working on seeker upgrades for the R-77, implying that at least two projects were underway, one for export and one for the Russian air force.
Vympel which originally designed the R-77, and is now part of TRV is also working on a more extensive upgrade of the missile than the 170-1. This project is designated the Article 180, and is in effect a mid-life upgrade for the weapon. This is intended to provide a further improvement in range, with the design including a dual-pulse motor configuration. Moving from the R-77's signature lattice fin configuration to a conventional fin is also part of this program.
The initial RVV-MD offering is likely no more than a stopgap to try to maintain its position, and to provide a credible radar-guided weapon to offer as part of fighter export packages and upgrade programs.
Russian industry sources indicate that both the RVV-SD and RVV-MD will have folding fins to allow for internal carriage. This at least suggests the Russian air force may be keeping its options open should it acquire the domestic variants of these upgrades to include them in the weapons inventory of its fifth-generation fighter, known as PAK-FA. India too, is a partner in the PAK-FA project, and the internal carriage modification may also have been performed with this in mind.
             Vympel R-77 Seeker Head 
The aerodynamics are novel, combining vestigial cruciform wings with tail control surfaces of a lattice configuration similar devices are used on the "R-400 Oka". Each surface consists of a metal frame containing a blade-like grid assembly which combines a greater control area, and thus lifting force, with reduced weight and size. The development for this control concept took three years of theoretical work and testing. Referred to by the Russians as gas dynamic declination devices, these surfaces require less powerful actuators than conventional fins, and have a lower RCS. The flow separation which occurs at high angles of attack enhances its turning ability, giving the missile a maximum turn rate of up to 150º per second.
The missile uses a multi-function doppler-monopulse active radar seeker developed by OAO Agat. The radar features two modes of operation, over short distances, the missile will launch in an active "fire and forget" mode. Over longer distances the missile is controlled by an inertial auto pilot with occasional encoded data link updates from the launch aircraft's radar on changes in spatial position or G of the target. As the missile comes within 20km "12.42 miles" of its target, the missile switches to its active radar mode. The host radar system maintains computed target information in case the target breaks the missile's lock-on.
R-77/RVV-AE Specifications
Revised: 01/31/2013 – 21:19:46