The Vympel R-27 was developed to become the successor the Vympel R-23 (NATO codename: AA-7 "Apex"). It was planned to equip the (at this time) new generation of fighter aircraft Mikoyan MiG-29 Fulcrum and Sukhoi Su-27 Flanker with it. Vympel started development of the missile in the middle of the 1970s. First R-27 missiles were delivered to the Soviet Air Force in the year 1985. The missile was exported to over 20 countries, like China, India, North Korea and others.