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Initial Operational Capability (IOC): 1982
Maiden Flight: 1978
Total Production: 42
Also Known As: A-50E, A-50EI, A-50M, A-50U and Mainstay
Origin: Russia
Corporations: Aviadvigatel Perm Engine Company, Beriev and Vega Radio Engineering Corp.
Parent System: A-50
Initial Operational Capability (IOC): 1982
Maiden Flight: 1978
Total Production: 42
Family Members: A-50U
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Description: The A-50, Mainstay NATO codename, is an Airborne Warning And Control System (AWACS) aircraft derived from the Il-76MD military transport aircraft. The radar antenna is mounted on the Il-76 fuselage like the NATO E-3 Sentry AWACS aircraft. The A-50 is intended to detect and identify airborne and sea objects determining its position, bearing and speed. The objects data collected by the A-50 aircraft is transferred to command centers. In addition, this AWACS aircraft is able to direct aircraft to engage airborne and surface targets. The Soviet Union built around 40 such aircraft in the 1980s with no more than 20 remaining in active service with the Russian Air Force by late 2008. The A-50 maiden flight was carried out in 1978 entering service in 1982.

The A-50 is considered as the Soviet counterpart to the proven E-3 Sentry aircraft. However, Western Intelligence alleges that the Russian/Soviet aircraft is not that much sophisticated than the E-3 AWACS. It is powered by four D-30KP engines rated at 26,500-lb each. A crew of 10-man is required to manage the whole airborne warning system, while the A-50 aircraft only requires a flight crew of five-man. These aircraft are equipped with the Shmel radar system with a maximum detection range of 800 kilometers against missile launches and 300 kilometers against fighter sized targets. It can track up to 200 targets while directing interceptors against 30 targets simultaneously.

The A-50E is the export version and has been sold to China and India. India purchased three A-50EI AWACS which are equipped with the Phalcon radar antenna provided by Israel. The Indian Air Force aircraft are due for delivery beginning from 2009 onwards. The A-50M is a modernized version being carried out by Vega Radio Engineering Corp for the Russian Air Force. Vega is replacing outdated analogue equipment with state-of-the-art digital electronic systems. The A-50M also features aerial refueling equipment and electronic warfare systems. In September 2008, the Russian Air Force started the testing phase for the A-50M aircraft. The basic A-50 has a range of 7,500 km and can remain airborne without refueling for 9.3 hours.

A-50 Specifications

Crew: 15
Engaged Aerial Targets: 30
Number of Engines: 4
Tracked Aerial Targets: 200
Height: 15 meter (49 foot)
Length: 46 meter (151 foot)
Wingspan: 50 meter (164 foot)
Ceiling: 10,200 meter (33,465 foot)
Max Detection Range: 400 kilometer
Max Instrumented Range: 800 kilometer
Max Range: 7,500 kilometer (4,050 nautical mile)
Flight Endurance: 9.30 hour (0.39 day)
Max Takeoff Thrust: 106,000 pound (48,082 kilogram)
Max Takeoff Weight: 190 ton (418,871 pound)
CEP: Circular Error Probable
Meters (m)   Kilometers (km)   Nautic Miles (nm)   Inch (in)   Yard (yd)   Foot (ft)   Millimeter (mm)
Pound (lb)   Kilogram (kg)   kN (KiloNewton)   Ton (t)
Meters per Second (mps)   Kilometers per Hour (kph)   Knot (kt)   Miles per Hour (mph)
Liter (l)   Galon (gl)
Year (yr)   Minutes (min)   Second (sec)
Shaft-Horse-Power (shp)

A-50 News

There are 9 news between
25 May 2009 and 18 Nov 2017
Saturday, November 18, 2017Russian Air Force A-100 Premier AWACS Aircraft Performs Maiden Flight
Thursday, January 23, 2014Chinese Air Force Inaugurates First Early Warning Aircraft Troop Unit
Tuesday, January 17, 2012First Upgraded A-50U AWACS Aircraft Enters Service with the Russian Air Force
Monday, October 31, 2011First A-50U Upgraded AWACS Aircraft Enters Service with Russian Air Force
Tuesday, August 9, 2011Russia to Develop Replacement for the A-50 AWACS Aircraft
Thursday, November 4, 2010India Takes Delivery of Third A-50EI AWACS Aircraft from Russia
Monday, July 19, 2010Indian Air Force to Purchase Two More A-50EI AWACS Aircraft
Thursday, May 28, 2009Indian Air Force Introduces First A-50EI AWACS Aircraft
Monday, May 25, 2009First Indian Air Force Il-76 AWACS Lands in India

Operators & Related Equipment

India purchased three A-50EI aircraft fitted with the Phalcon radar in 2004 and ordered two additional aircraft in July 2010
May 20091
20161515 A-50
20142222 A-50
201320Includes at least three upgraded A-50U aircraft
200820from 16-20 aircraft operated by the Russian Air Force

Grand Total 353
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