Dating back to the U-2 incident of the early 1960s, the surface-to-air missiles of the former Soviet Union have had more historical influence than any other military weapon. During the Vietnamese War, missiles provided by the Soviet Union defined the terms for the air battle over North Vietnam. To this day, Russian anti-aircraft missiles represent a major part of the terrorist threat and in some cases, provide the only defense available to most countries against American bombers.
The first Russian experiments with surface-to-air missiles were made by Sergei Korolev before World War II, but his imprisonment ended further work. During the war the Red Army experimented with use of Katyusha rockets as anti-aircraft barrage rockets.
The Cold War and post Cold War eras marked the initial stages for many missile projects, which didn’t emerge until the 1990s. Since that time, the true technical details of these missiles have not been known. Today, the operators of Russian fighters have many frightening options concerning a diversity in air frame performance and seeker capabilities that are too horrible for Western planners and designers of electronic and infrared countermeasures suites to even contemplate.
Today, an inbound Russian Beyond Visible Range Missile (BVR) missile could be equipped with one of several different semi-active radar homing, active radar homing, infrared-homing or passive X-band anti-radiation homing seekers. The missile might be using one of several possible airframes or derivatives, with diverse kinematic performance (refers to the motion of objects without consideration of circumstances surrounding the motion).
In this case, the western world better believe that what we do not know can hurt us.