New A-50U AWACS Aircraft Handed over to Russian Aerospace Forces

This should partly make up for the reported loss of 2 A-50 AWACS over Russia-Ukraine since January 2024
  • Defensemirror.com Bureau
  • 03:03 PM, March 3, 2024
  • 1634
New A-50U AWACS Aircraft Handed over to Russian Aerospace Forces
New A-50U AWACS aircraft joins Russian Aerospace Forces @Telegram

A new A-50U AWACS aircraft was recently handed over to the Russian Aerospace Forces (RuAF) beefing up the early warning capability of the RuAF.

A pro-Russian telegram channel published the image of an A-50U claiming the aircraft to be a “new” (probably modernized from the earlier A-50 configuration).

If true, it should restore some of the loss of Russian early warning assets. Since January, two A-50/A-50U aircraft are reported to be shot down in the border between Russia and Ukraine.

The new A-50U  is equipped with a dorsal X-band radar system "Shmel-M", capable of detecting targets with an image intensifier of 0.1 square meters at a distance of about 110 - 120 km, 0.03 sq. m (equivalent to the SCALP-EG cruise missile) - about 75 km against the background of airspace and 50 km against the background of the earth's surface, the Telegram channel reported.

The aircraft is also capable of detecting ground-based radars at a distance of 300 km, a tank company - up to 200 - 250 km, and dispersed tanks and infantry fighting vehicles up to 120 - 150 km.

New A-50U AWACS Aircraft Handed over to Russian Aerospace Forces
A-50U AWACS aircraft shot down. Video grab.

The Russian Ministry of Defense has not officially acknowledged the induction of the new A-50U AWACS aircraft not has it commented on the reported loss of the the two A-50/A-50U aircraft.

However, Sergei Chemzov, chief of Rostec state corporation had told TASS on February 29 about his desire to resume production of the A-50 family of aircraft, since such aircraft are in “great demand.”  The A-50’s highlight is its large Liana surveillance radar, housed within a 9-meter diameter rotodome atop the fuselage. This system allows for the detection of air targets up to 650 kilometers away and ground targets up to 300 kilometers distant.

Its importance to the RuAF can be gauged from the fact that the A-50 is capable of controlling up to ten fighter jets in air-to-air interception and air-to-ground attacks. It has a flight duration of four hours and a range of 1,000 kilometers which can be extended with aerial refueling.

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