Russia’s Tactical Missiles Corporation (KTRV) has modified its Kh-38ME direct attack air-to-surface guided missile to enable improved integration with the internal weapons bay of the Sukhoi PAK FA fifth-generation fighter aircraft.
The Kh-38-family of air-launched short-range modular guided missiles – which were initially developed to be deployed in the PAK FA's weapon bay – are designed to engage a wide range of armoured and soft-skin land targets, and surface ships in littoral waters.
The earlier domestic Kh-38/Kh-38M and export Kh-38E/Kh-38ME variants sometimes featured a folding rear mid-body wing assembly to enable internal mounting. The new, more simplified design of the modified Kh-38ME does not require a folding assembly to accommodate the missile in the compartment.
"The latest version of the Kh-38 missile retains the existing aerodynamic airframe, but features a new, smaller clipped delta wing assembly, in cruciform configuration, with an increase to the width of the wing at the point of docking with the missile airframe. The cruciform tail actuator assembly has also decreased in span," a KTRV official told Jane’s at the 2017 MAKS Air Show.
The Kh-38ME is 4,200 mm long, 310 mm in diameter, and has a fin span of 1,140 mm. The missile can be fitted to AKU or APU-type launchers, and can be launched by an aircraft flying at speeds of between 15-450 m/s and at altitudes between 200-12,000 m to a range of up to 40 km. The Kh-38ME retains the earlier dual-thrust solid propellant rocket engine, which delivers a supersonic speed of Mach 2.2 in unspecified atmospheric conditions.
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