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Bisnovat R-40: Wikis


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Bisnovat R-40
Type air-to-air missile
Place of origin Soviet Union
Weight 450 kilograms (990 lb)
Length 5.98 metres (19 ft 7 in)
Diameter 31 centimetres (12 in)

Warhead blast fragmentation
Warhead weight 70 kg (154 lb)

Wingspan 1450 mm (4 ft 9 in)
(30–60 km)
Speed Mach 4.5
(R-40TD) infrared homing; (R-40RD) semi-active radar homing

The Bisnovat (later Molniya then Vympel) R-40 (NATO reporting name AA-6 'Acrid') was a long-range air-to-air missile developed in the 1960s by the Soviet Union for use by interceptor aircraft.



The Bisnovat design bureau began development of a long-range air-to-air missile in 1962. The resulting R-40 was initially matched with the Smerch-A (Tornado-A) radar of the MiG-25. It was built in semi-active radar homing (R-40R) and infrared-homing (R-40T) versions.

Following the defection of PVO pilot Viktor Belenko in 1976, Vympel developed an improved version of the missile with superior countermeasures (IRCM) resistance and more sensitive seekers. The upgraded missiles were designated with the suffix -D (for 'development', "finalized"). Later -D1 versions were also developed.

Production of the R-40 ended in 1991, but it remains in limited service arming surviving MiG-25 and some MiG-31 interceptors.

Combat History

As the MiG-25 has been exported to various states in the Middle East, the R-40 has been used in combat by Iraq and probably by Syria and Libya too.

A declassified document of the CIA reports that in the first day of Desert Storm, on 17 January 1991, Scott Speicher's F/A-18C was shot down by a R-40 fired from an Iraqi MiG-25.[1]

On 24 December 2002, an Iraqi MiG-25 shot down a USAF MQ-1 Predator drone with a R-40. The RQ-1 fired back an AIM-92 Stinger, but the MiG evaded it.

Specifications (R-40TD / R-40RD)

  • Length: (R-40TD) 5.98 m (19 ft 7.5 in); (R-40RD) 6.22 m (20 ft 5 in)
  • Wingspan: 1450 mm (4 ft 9 in)
  • Diameter: 310 mm (12.2 in)
  • Launch weight: (R-40TD) 450 kg (990 lb); (R-40RD) 461 kg (1,015 lb)
  • Speed: Mach 4.5
  • Range: 30 km (19 mi); 60 km (37 mi)
  • Guidance: (R-40TD) infrared homing; (R-40RD) semi-active radar homing
  • Warhead: 70 kg (154 lb) blast fragmentation



Current Operators

To be retired.

Former Operators

Retired. 660 missiles originally delivered.
 Soviet Union
Passed on to successor states.
Retired in 2008.


External links


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