Ukraine handed over R-37M air-to-air missile components to British intelligence

Ukraine captured remains of Russia’s R-37M air-to-air missile were found in Ukraine.

The UK has recovered Russian military equipment lost to Ukrainian forces and handed it over to national intelligence agencies and industry partners in order to identify weaknesses and develop new defensive aids and countermeasures.

Russia started using R-37M missile as RuAF is running out of R-77 semi-active radar guided missiles.

The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity in line with conference rules, declined to discuss which specific systems have been captured and passed over to intelligence groups and industry, but the revelation provides new evidence of the ways in which the UK is actively gaining first-hand insight to Kremlin technologies.

The official said that being able to “undermine the credibility” of the Russian systems will lead to the creation of market opportunities for “alternative solutions,” a clear hint that industry has been instructed to interrogate the Russian equipment and design superior countermeasures. The UK is also ensuring Ukrainians benefit from the newfound knowledge.

“We are providing advice and assistance at arm’s length to Ukrainian leaders and planners, it feels to me… that this is a truly integrated and multi-domain approach,” added the UK representative.

The wreckage of an apparent Russian very long-range R-37M air-to-air missile points to the type’s use against Ukrainian military aircraft without entering their air defense zone.

The R-37M, known to NATO as the AA-13 Axehead, is a modern 124-mile-range air-to-air missile. It is a long-range missile intended to destroy various air targets (airplane, cruise missile, helicopter) while keeping the launch platform out of the range of any fighters or air defense unit that might be protecting the target.


According to the open sources, the R-37M missile guidance system is inertial with radio correction and active radar homing, which is activated at the end of the missile’s flight path. As a propulsion system, a two-mode solid fuel engine is used. As an explosive device, the radar active non-contact and contact sensors of the target are used. The military part of the rocket is a fragmentation-high explosive.

The missile, weighing 1,124 pounds, is similar in size to the R-33 (1,078 pounds), but thanks to a dual-pulse solid-propellant rocket motor and optimized flight profile, it achieves almost twice the range.

R-37M air-to-air missiles, carried by the Su-35S Flanker-E and MiG-31BM Foxhound-C fighters, have become a real challenge for Ukrainian fighter pilots.

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