The world’s five most powerful air-to-air missilesENGLISHPOSTED ON24 DE AGOSTO DE 2023 —BY REDAÇÃO12
First used in the 1950s, air-to-air missiles have become the most powerful air combat weapon for fighter jets, allowing them to take down enemies tens or even hundreds of kilometers away from the launching aircraft.Find out below which are the five most powerful air-to-air missiles currently in use by the world’s armed forces.
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World’s most powerful air-to-air missiles
Iran carried out a remarkable reverse engineering job that allowed it to keep its American-origin aircraft in service even four decades after the Middle East nation’s fallout with the Western military power.
The same applies to their weaponry. The Fakour 90 is a local development of the AIM-54 Phoenix missile, which originally equipped the F-14 Tomcats purchased by Iran in the 1970s, which are now out of service.
According to the Iranians, the Fakour 90 can fly at Mach 5 and hit an aerial target 150 kilometers away. It also has a guidance system independent of the launching aircraft.
In service since 2014, the “D” version is the most advanced of the American AMRAAM missile. Also designed for beyond visual range combat, it can hit an aircraft-sized target at an estimated distance between 160 and 180 kilometers.
It’s part of the weapons package for aircraft like the F-35, F-15EX, and F-18E currently used by the United States at the forefront of its combat force.
Created by a consortium of European countries with the goal of surpassing the performance of the American AIM-120 AMRAAM, the Meteor entered service in 2016 and is considered an expensive missile, but at the same time extremely efficient.
It can hit aerial targets up to 200 kilometers away and features an engine that allows for extreme maneuvers to reduce the chances of the enemy escaping. The missile was chosen by the Brazilian Air Force (FAB) to equip the SAAB Gripen. Besides the Swedish fighter, the Meteor is also present in the Eurofighter and Dassault Rafale.
The Chinese PL-15 was introduced in 2014 and is the most powerful missile of the Asian country’s fighter force, capable of destroying a target at an estimated distance of up to 300 kilometers.
It’s believed to be one of the first air-to-air missiles to feature an AESA radar, a state-of-the-art system that greatly facilitates the weapon’s target acquisition.
The K-77M is the Russian counterpart to the American AIM-120. It’s a more advanced version of the 1990’s “BVR” R-77, equipped with an AESA radar capable of destroying an aerial target up to 193 kilometers away.
It’s the main weapon of the Sukhoi Su-57, Russia’s fifth-generation fighter which entered limited service in 2020, although it’s still under development.
First used in the 1950s, air-to-air missiles have become the most powerful air combat weapon for fighter jets, allowing them to take down enemies tens or even hundreds of kilometers away from the launching aircraft.