R-27 (air-to-air missile)

This article is about the air-to-air missile. For the submarine-launched ballistic missile, see R-27 Zyb. For other uses, see R27.
AA-10 Alamo

German Air Force MiG-29 firing an R-27
Type Medium-range, air-to-air tactical missile
Place of origin Soviet Union
Service history
In service 1983- present
Production history
Manufacturer Vympel
Unit cost N/A
Weight 253 kg (558 lb)
Length 4.08 m (13.4 ft)
Diameter 230 mm (9.1 in)
Warhead blast/fragmentation, or continuous rod
Warhead weight 39 kg (86 lb)
radar-proximity and impact fuzes

Engine High performance, w. directed-rocket motor
Solid-fuel rocket motor
Wingspan 772 mm (30.4 in)
R-27R: up to 80 km
R-27T: up to 70 km
R-27ER: up to 130 km
R-27ET: up to 120 km
R-27EP: up to 130 km
R-27EA: >130 km [1][2]
Flight altitude N/A
Speed Mach 4.5
semi-active radar homing (A/C), active-radar-homing (R-27EA), infrared homing (B/D), passive radar (E/F)
R-27 T
R-73Ae, R-27R1(AeR1), R-27T1(AeT1), and Kh-59MAe at MACS, Zhukovski, 1999.

The Vympel R-27 missile (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 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-27EA) versions, in both Russia and 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 China, though the production license was bought from Ukraine instead of Russia.


R-27R and ER variants can be used in any meteorological conditions. Launch can made at less than 5 g overload and less 50 deg/s roll rate.[3] It is allowed to redesignate targets during flight, or sharing target illumination with other aircraft.

R-27T and ET variants can be used out of cloudiness, at least 15 degrees away from the bearing of sun, and 4 degrees away from the bearing of moon and ground based head-contrasting conditions. In cases of maximum head-on range launches where lock-command cannot be utilised, missile can be fired in PPS: In this mode, missile will fly straight until achieves target lock. As missile lacks capability of maneuvering before lock, aircraft itself must maneuver so that missile will be pointed to no more than 15 degrees bearing of the target for confident capture by the IR seeker after launch. Equalising altitude is recommended but not required.[4] On combat operations section of the Su-27 manual, this mode of usage is especially recommended for head-on usage for passive attacks at targets with 0 degrees approach angle (i.e. another fighter moving to intercept), leaving target unalerted to incoming missile.[5] Launch can be made at 0 to 7 g, but limited to 6 g if roll induced slip is more than 2x diameter of the ball.[3]

image of a turn and slip indicator of an aircraft
Although the size of the ball may be different here, the same idea of slip affecting launch performance applies.

Other Variants:

Operational service

Ethiopia and Eritrea

In the 1999 Eritrean-Ethiopian War, Eritrean MiG-29s fought Ethiopian Su-27s both piloted by Russian mercenaries.[6] There were possibly as many as 24 R-27s fired by both sides. Only one R-27 fired by an Ethiopian Su-27 at an Eritrean MiG-29 proximity-fuzed near enough the MiG that the damaged aircraft eventually crashed on landing, giving the R-27 a hit ratio of only 4%.[7][8]


During the War in Donbass, the Ukrainian Air Force claimed that one of its Su-25 was shot down by a Russian Air Force MiG-29 using a R-27T on 16 July 2014.[9] Russian officials denied any involvement.[10]


Map with R-27 operators in blue with former operators in red

Current operators

Former operators

See also

Similar weapons


  1. 1 2 "The Russian Philosophy of Beyond Visual Range Air Combat". ausairpower.net. 2012. Retrieved 2012-11-24.
  2. 1 2 Dr C Kopp. "The Russian Philosophy of Beyond Visual Range Air Combat".
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Su-27 Flight Manual booklet-1. 2001. p. 129.
  4. Su-27 Flight Manual booklet-1. 2001. p. 151.
  5. Su-27 Flight Manual booklet-1. 2001. p. 150.
  6. Smith, Charles. ""Russian Mercenaries Flying For Ethiopia." WorldNetDaily, 18 July 2000. Retrieved: 24 October 2010.
  7. Adal voice of Eritrean's / By:The Air Combat Information Group "Quarrels Over the Border.", April 18, 2008. Retrieved: 26th of October, 2010.
  8. Cooper, Tom and Jonathan Kyzer. "Ethiopian Eritrean War, 1998 - 2000." ACIG.org, 10 February 2008. Retrieved: 24 October 2010.
  9. "Russian military plane shot down Ukrainian Su-25 aircraft in Ukraine".
  10. "Russia Rejects 'Absurd' Accusation Over Downed Ukrainian Jet". RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty.
  • Gordon, Yefim (2004). Soviet/Russian Aircraft Weapons Since World War Two. Hinckley, England: Midland Publishing. ISBN 1-85780-188-1. 
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