Rostec State Corporation has successfully handed over the advanced A-50U Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C) aircraft to the Russian Air Forces. This modernized long-range radar surveillance and guidance aircraft complex represents a significant leap forward in the nation’s aerial defense capabilities. Developed jointly by Ruselectronics and the United Aircraft Corporation, both integral parts of Rostec, the A-50U boasts a range of groundbreaking enhancements over its predecessor. One of the aircraft’s most impressive features is its ability to detect new types of aircraft, enabling heightened vigilance and adaptability in the ever-evolving theater of aerial warfare. One of the most remarkable improvements is the A-50U’s capacity to simultaneously track a larger number of targets and coordinate with fighter aircraft more effectively than its previous iteration. This expanded capability enhances the Russian Air Forces’ situational awareness and response time in critical scenarios.
Modernization efforts have not only boosted the aircraft’s performance but also its overall efficiency. By incorporating state-of-the-art equipment, the A-50U has shed excess weight, resulting in an extended flight range and greater operational endurance, a crucial factor in prolonged combat missions. The aircraft’s upgraded electronics, characterized by enhanced performance and speed, have empowered it with greater software functionality. Additionally, the installation of larger and higher-resolution LCD monitors has significantly improved the radar situation display system, while ergonomic enhancements aim to reduce tactical crew fatigue. The A-50U’s new flight and navigation system further enhances its overall operational effectiveness.
Speaking about the A-50U’s role in modern combat conditions, Rostec emphasized, the A-50U long-range radar surveillance and guidance complex is a necessary vehicle in modern combat conditions. As a result of modernization, the aircraft received new technical equipment, which increases the speed and range of detection of air, ground, and sea targets, and the effectiveness of countering the enemy. The modernization of the A-50U was a collaborative effort, with Concern Vega overseeing the process under Ruselectronics, and TANTK named after G.M. Beriev handling the project within the United Aircraft Corporation. The use of modernized A-50U flying radars in the area of a special military operation allows us to quickly detect enemy air targets and effectively counter them with aviation and air defense forces.
The Beriev A-50 (NATO reporting name: Mainstay) is a Soviet airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft based on the Ilyushin Il-76 transport. Developed to replace the Tupolev Tu-126 “Moss”, the A-50 first flew in 1978. Its existence was revealed to the Western Bloc in 1978 by Adolf Tolkachev. It entered service in 1985, with about 40 produced by 1992. The mission personnel of the 15-man crew derive data from the large Liana surveillance radar with its antenna in an over-fuselage rotodome, which has a diameter of 9 metres (30 ft) Detection range is 650 kilometres (400 mi; 350 nmi) for air targets and 300 kilometres (190 mi; 160 nmi) for ground targets. The A-50 can control up to ten fighter aircraft for either air-to-air intercept or air-to-ground attack missions. The A-50 can fly for four hours with a range of 1,000 kilometres (620 mi; 540 nmi) from its base, at a maximum takeoff weight of 190 metric tons (420,000 lb). The aircraft can be refuelled by Il-78 tankers.