KIEV, Ukraine --- Russia's Ministry of Defense (MoD) announced that a new weapon is very near completion of its test validation trials and will soon be placed into service.
If reports of its operational performance are accurate, it will threaten the survivability of every U.S. combat aircraft currently in service—particularly the newest U.S. fighter, the Lockheed Martin F-35.
The weapon is the Vympel R-37M air-to-air missile. Launched from a fighter aircraft, it is designed to hit targets at ranges of up to 188 miles, its warhead section contains 132 lbs of explosive material, and it is reported to be capable of speeds of up to Mach 6.
This missile gives Russian aircraft an advantage over U.S. combat aircraft in both speed and reach. The most advanced versions of the US-made Raytheon AIM-120 air-to-air missile top out at about Mach 4 and have a range of only about 110 miles.
Defense planners are alarmed at the number of fighters Russia plans to fit with this weapon. (end of excerpt)
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