The R-73 short-range air-to-air missile was developed by “Molniya” (recently the special design bureau Nr.4) design bureau. It’s team at the beginning of the 1970s developed the R-60 missile and the R-73 was intended to replace it. It is known as the AA-11 “Archer” with NATO countries.
Missile features a wide angle infrared seeker and extreme maneuverability. The R-73 is completed with a vectored trust system to make very tight turns. It’s minimum range of fire is 0.3 km and missile is intended as a dogfight weapon in close air combats. Furthermore the R-73 is considered to be the most dangerous weapon system in close visual combat.
There were developed later variants of the R-73 missile:
– The R-73E missile features extended range;
– The R-73M1 (sometimes designated as R-73 RDM-1) features improved overall performance;
– The R-73M2 (R-73 RDM-2) has even better performance characteristics than it’s predecessor – the R-73M1;
– The K-74ME.
Source: Enemy Forces