The Vympel R-33 was developed to be the main weapon of the Mikoyan MiG-31 Interceptor. The missile was developed by Vympel (Russian: Вымпел) in the 1960´s. The semi-active radar guided missile with inertial navigation to attack targets at great distances has many similarities to the already retired American-made AIM-54 Phoenix. The R-33 is actually not useable against highly manoeuvrable fighters, while it was designed to be used by the MiG-31 Interceptor against bombers, which are not very manoeuvrable.
Rumors state that the guidance system of the R-33 was copied from the AIM-54, which was captured during the Iranian Revolution by the Soviets. The first R-33 missiles entered service with the Soviet Air Force in the year 1982.
Primarily used on the MiG-31, both versions of the R-33 are an option for the Su-27.
- Length: [R-33 izdieliye 410] 163.4 in (4.15 m) [R-33S] c164 in (c4.2 m)
- Span: [Both] 46.5 in (1.18 m)
- Diameter: [Both] 15 in (0.38 m)
- Weight: [R-33 izdieliye 410] 1,080 lbs (490 kg) [R-33S] c1,300 lbs (c600 kg)
- Range: [R-33 izdieliye 410] 65 Nautical miles (120 km)