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New A-100 AWACS Plane By Russia

Russia hopes to develop a new airborne warning and control system A-100 (AWACS) plane by 2016, Air Force chief Col. Gen Alexander Zelin said on Tuesday.



the first Il-76-MD-90-A air-frame to be converted into an AWACS prototype arrived at the Taganrog-based Beriyev Aviation Scientific-Technical Complex (TANTK) on the shore of the Sea of Azov on the same day as the announcement, the TASS news agency reported. The Il-76-MD-90-A-based platform will be designated the A-100 (the current Il-76 based AWACS, of which there are 20 currently in service with the Russian Air Force [VVS], is designated the A-50 ‘Mainstay’). While few details pertaining to the A-100 have been released, it has been revealed that it will be built around an active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar, as opposed to the mechanically scanned radar of the A-50.

According to TASS, once developed and fielded, the A-100 will replace the A-50 in VVS service, although no timelines were disclosed. The VVS currently has 39 Il-76-MD-90-A air-lifters under contract, but is understood to have a requirement for 100. It is likely that any A-100 order would be in addition to these air-lifters. “We are expecting to receive the A-100 aircraft built on the basis of the IL-476 transport plane with the PS-90 engine and extended flight range,” Zelin told reporters in Moscow. The new AWACS plane will have an advanced active phase array capable of detecting and tracking airborne and land-based targets.

IHS Jane’s has previously reported that this new AESA will likely be the JSC REC ‘Vega’ Premier radar that is scanned mechanically in azimuth and electronically in elevation. As with the A-50, the A-100’s radar antenna will be mounted in a rotating dorsal roto dome. While the AESA radar will provide a dramatic improvement in the platform’s ability to detect and track both airborne and land-based targets, as well as making for a more reliable and easier to maintain solution, the move to the Il-76-MD-90-A air- frame will bestow advantages from the new avionics (reduced crew workload), and improved fuel efficiency (cheaper to operate, and with increased time on station).

The Russian Air Force has around 20 A-50 Mainstay AWACS planes, based on the Ilyushin IL-76 transport.The A-50 is equipped with the large Liana surveillance radar with its antenna in an over-fuselage roto dome and can control up to ten fighter aircraft for either air-to-air intercept or air-to-ground attack missions.

Zelin said: “We will have the carrier IL-476 by 2013-2014 and should be able to build this plane by 2016.”

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