State media claims that AESA radar of A-100 Premier can detect airborne targets out to 600 km, and ships out to 400 km
Russia’s A-100 Airborne Warning And Control System (AWACS) has made its maiden flight on Nov. 18, 2017.
The new aircraft uses the Il-76MD-90A as its platform and will replace the A-50 fleet eventually.
According to Jane’s the A-100 Premier, as the Ministry of Defence (MoD) of the Russian Federation named it, made its maiden flight out of the Taganrog Aviation Scientific and Technical Complex (TANTK), located near the Sea of Azov in the far west of the country. The MoD explained that all of the aircraft’s systems, including those associated with the rotating dorsal rotodome, were checked-out during the flight ahead of further trials.
The maiden flight of the aircraft came three years after Russia’s TASS news agency revealed that the first Il-76MD-90A airframe had arrived at the TANTK facility for conversion into the A-100 AWACS configuration in 2014, and six years after plans to do so were first disclosed in 2011.
Even though few details pertaining to the A-100 have been released, it has been announced that it will be built around an active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar (which most probably will be scanned mechanically in azimuth and electronically in elevation), as opposed to the mechanically scanned radar of the current A-50 (NATO reporting name ‘Mainstay’).
State media said that this radar can detect airborne targets out to 600 km, and ships out to 400 km.
As reported by Jane’s, 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-76MD-90A airframe will bestow advantages from the new avionics (reduced crew workload), and improved fuel efficiency (cheaper to operate, and with increased time on station).
Photo credit: UAC