Its radar antenna can detect targets up to 650 kilometers away. The Russian A-50 is to be used against Western fighter jets.
Russia is using a new weapon to protect itself from possible attacks from Ukrainian planes. It could also affect the F-16 fighter jets announced by the West, where Ukrainian soldiers are already training.
The British Ministry of Defense said on Friday that Russia is “likely” to deploy its A-50 Mainstay D aircraft in an assessment of the situation. These were developed in the 1980s and are visually similar to NATO’s Awax aircraft. They can be refueled in the air and are capable of leading up to ten fighter jets from their own air force.
According to the British Ministry of Defence, the aircraft of the Russian company Periv will be able to detect enemy aircraft from a greater distance than previously possible – the range is said to be up to 650 kilometers. You can specify enemy targets and launch ground-based SA-21 long-range missiles at them. SA-21 is comparable to American Patriot systems.
Last March, a video of a drone flying over an A-50 aircraft parked in Belarus caused a stir. However, there was no major damage to the aircraft, which was parked on the tarmac at the military airport.
Large aircraft can coordinate flight and defense systems from a safe distance. It also serves as a flying command center. With its radar – visible as a large circular area on the roof – it can detect enemy aircraft from greater distances than ground radar. It is higher up and can “see” more.
Russia is taking more risks
According to the British, Russia used the plane because it was concerned about reported Western warplanes. Currently, Ukraine uses mostly Russian-made aircraft. It is not yet clear when the F-16 fighter jets will arrive. They can fly two types of missions: on the one hand, shoot down Russian missiles and drones, and on the other – in a more offensive role – attack Russian missile defense positions.
However, the use of Russian flying command centers is not entirely without risk: “Russia has the potential to take too much risk in bringing the mainstay forward to fulfill its role more efficiently,” he says. British Ministry of Defence. The closer they get to the front, the greater the risk of coming within detection range of Ukrainian anti-aircraft defenses.
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