War Thunder

Gaijin please, the MiG-21PFM missing its R-55

warthunder 6 - Gaijin please, the MiG-21PFM missing its R-55

Some background: I posted this ~2 weeks ago to the forums, however it still hasn't even been approved, so I figured I'd post it here as a Gaijin Pls so it doesn't get swept under the rug. This is a historical report with primary and secondary sources proving the MiG-21PFM had IRL (and therefore should in-game) the R-55 missile. Available here:
&ct=1612210632 - Gaijin please, the MiG-21PFM missing its R-55


Affected vehicle(s): MiG-21PFM (CCCP)

Issue: MiG-21PFM is missing modifications and loadouts for air-to-air missile R-55.

Fix(es) required: Addition of the R-55 air-to-air missile to the MiG-21PFM's modification as well as one loadout (2x R-55).

Background info:

The R-55 missile has a number of variants under similar or often confused designations, so I will clarify which one was used by the MiG-21PFM here. The designation AA-1C covers all air-to-air missiles based on Product 67 missile body. This includes the RS-2US, the R-55 (also designated K-55 or K-5 in Soviet use), and the K-55M (a prototype that never entered production). The missile in question for the MiG-21PFM is the R-55. In very basic terms, it is an RS-2US with a new front half incorporating a new infra-red seeker (type S-59), new forward fins, and new forward actuators, as well as a new fuse (type NOV-55 Roza). Further, it removes the guidance flares previously found on RS-2US (as well as Kh-66/23/M which we have in-game). The R-55 could be fitted with a new larger single smoke emitter for training purposes.

Here is a photo of a R-55 missile on display:

R-55 at Vympel museum

Here is a diagram of R-55 relative to RS-1U and RS-2US with scales:

R-55 is the bottom missile, scale to right of diagram

How it relates to MiG-21PFM:

The MiG-21PFM (airframe #3523) served as the first testbed for the infra-red R-55 variant as it was the most modern plane available in Soviet Service at the time that could fit the RS-2US missile from which R-55 was derived. By the time development of the R-55 was done, the MiG-21PFM had been in-service for a number of years. It would carry the K-55 in-service until its retirement, and would serve past this being used to train pilots learning to use the missile, as it outlived the MiG-21PFM with its service on MiG-21bis.

We can see the firing controls for the K-5 missile modeled in the MiG-21PFM cockpit in-game already (in red box):

Red box is switch to toggle R-55 onto the trigger function

A MiG-21PFM (red 54) is on display in Ukraine's Vinnitsa Air Force Museum fitted with 2 K-55s mounting the training smoke modules. The plane was in Soviet service, but at some point had modern Ukrainian markings painted over its Soviet emblems:

R-55 on display in Ukraine (1)

R-55 on display in Ukraine (2)

R-55 on display in Ukraine (3)

The MiG-21PFM is further listed under the R-55 section of Karpenko's book:

From Karpenko

Further, the testbed and its serial number are listed by the militaryrussia.ru article:

Testbed S/N

Specifications per datamined categories:


The following specifications are borrowed from EpicBlitzkrieg87's Missile History post on the forum. Available here: https://forum.warthunder.com/index.php?/topic/487049-vympel-kaliningrad-history-design-performance-of-russian-air-to-air-missiles-ir-sarh-arh-updated-august-2020/

Physical Properties:

Mass (starting): 92 kg

Mass (after burn): Same as Kh-23/66 in-game, unknown from sources

Length: 2760 mm

Width: 202 mm (body diameter), 530 mm (fin tip to fin tip)

Engine Properties:

Engine force: Same as Kh-23/66 in-game, unknown from sources

Raw acceleration: Same as Kh-23/66 in-game, unknown from sources

Burn time: Same as Kh-23/66 in-game, unknown from sources

Sustainer: none

Fuse and Warhead Properties:

Explosive mass (TNT equal): 11 kg (warhead type GSKB-47)

Proximity fuse: Yes (fuse type TsKB-589 NOV-55 Roza)

Proximity fuse range: 12 m

Guidance Properties:

Guidance type: IR (seeker type S-59)

Guidance duration: 30 seconds

Seeker warm-up: 5 seconds

Seeker search: 20 seconds

Field of view: 5 degrees

Gimbal limit: 35 degrees

Tracking rate: 10 degrees/second

Uncaged seeker: yes

Maximum angle lock: 10 degrees

Minimum sun angle: unknown

Rear-aspect lock range: 10 km

All-aspect lock range: 0.2 km (or n/a for in-game purposes, this is similar for other missiles like AIM-9B/E/G)

Can be slaved to radar: yes

Can lock after launch: no

Launch G limit: 3 G (one source says 5, however multiple say 3, so 3 is likely correct)

Flight Characteristics:

Maximum speed: 1.8 mach

Maximum travel distance: 10 km

Maximum launch distance: 8 km

Maximum G-Load: 18 G

Thrust vectoring: no



1) "Russian Rocket Weaponry 1943-1993" by A. V. Karpenko

Available here (table is on page #132, MiG-21PFM is listed under R-55): https://docviewer.yandex.ru/view/0/?*=HaihFa4YfAbujUHW7JybOcN0Qlt7InVybCI6InlhLWRpc2stcHVibGljOi8vWTFoRzYzUVBRUS90clhCQ2svaWpkWkV6TU9PSXdIaC9BeGZPbTAzeFZBQT0iLCJ0aXRsZSI6ImthcnBlbmtvLXJvc3NpaXNrb2UtMTk5My5wZGYiLCJub2lmcmFtZSI6ZmFsc2UsInVpZCI6IjAiLCJ0cyI6MTYxMTI4NTA3ODI1MCwieXUiOiIzODMxNTgwMDIxNTc3NDAxNzI4In0%3D

This book was said to be a valid source by both Smin and LordMustang.

2) "Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21: Famous Russian Aircraft" by Yefim Gordon

3) "Soviet/Russian Aircraft Weapons Since World War II" by Yefim Gordon

Websites: (these sites were used to gather information about the specifications of the missile. All have bibliographies. I have reached out to Museum ГосНИИАС to see if they can send me a copy, as they used to host it).

1) http://militaryrussia.ru/blog/topic-86.html

2) http://www.loneflyer.com/2016/05/22/rs-1u2uusr-55-aa-1-alkali/

3) https://ruslet.webnode.cz/technika/ruska-technika/letecka-vyzbroj/protiletadlove-rs/r-55-aa-1c-alkali-/


1) http://militaryarticle.ru/tekhnika-i-vooruzhenie/2005/11603-otechestvennye-upravljaemye-rakety-klassa-vozduh (makes further mention of MiG-21PFM #3523 as testbed for R-55)

Primary sources:

1) https://royallib.com/read/avtor_neizvesten/tehnika_i_voorugenie_2005_09.html#0

This source lists the serial # and test info for the MiG-21PFM with R-55. All credit to csla1972 for finding this.

2) http://ktrv.ru/tour/

Digital tour of museum of Vympel NPO, sign for R-55 mentions it being tested on PFM

Source: Original link

© Post "Gaijin please, the MiG-21PFM missing its R-55" for game War Thunder.

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