TechRussia to reboot A-50 aircraft production amid Ukraine losses

Russia to reboot A‑50 aircraft production amid Ukraine losses

A-50 - overview photo
A-50 - overview photo
Images source: © Wikimedia Commons
10:56 AM EST, March 1, 2024

It's important to note that many announcements from Russian media or officials can serve as propaganda. These communications are tools in the information warfare waged by the Russian Federation.

Discussion on new A-50 production emerges

Earlier reports, based on Ukrainian assessments, indicated Russia's loss of two A-50 Beriev Early Warning Aircraft in 2024. The first incident, involving an upgraded A-50U version, occurred on January 14th over the Azov Sea, followed by another loss on February 23rd in the Krasnodar Region. This leaves Moscow with roughly six operational AWACS. The A-50s are crucial for surveillance, tracking enemy movements, and managing coordinated assaults, making their loss significant.

The destruction of these aircraft has made Russian forces more cautious, hinting at fears of further losses. Yet, Sergey Chemezov, the head of the Russian Rostec corporation, confidently states that Russia will soon reactivate its AWACS production. This push is driven by the demand within the Russian Air Force and supposed interest from international buyers. Chemezov argues that the capability to produce both the radar systems and the aircraft themselves remains intact.

A recent Forbes article highlighted the challenges facing Russian aircraft production, noting, "Russians are losing airplanes 20 times faster than they can replace them." This slowdown is largely attributed to Western sanctions targeting the Russian aviation industry. Contrarily, Professor Vladimir Ponomarev, a critic of the Russian regime and former economic minister, suggests that sanctions have not hindered Russia's war efforts. In discussions, he emphasized the role of smuggling in circumventing sanctions, allowing Russia to access necessary components for military production.

Professor Ponomarev points out that despite the sanctions, Russia still secures the modern components required for its military manufacturing, largely through smuggling channels. The increased costs have not impeded the flow of materials, with Russia also receiving supplies, including missiles from countries like China and North Korea, bolstering its arsenal.

A-50: Vision for the Russian military

The Beriev A-50 aircraft, known in NATO as "Mainstay," was developed as a successor to the Tupolev Tu-126. A collaboration between the Ilyushin and Beriev enterprises led to its inception. Based on the Ilyushin Il-76 transport aircraft, the A-50 debuted in 1984. Measuring about 164 feet in length, 49 feet in height, with a 165.7 feet wingspan, it can achieve speeds up to 559 mph and has a range of approximately 4660 miles.

Central to its capabilities is the Liana observation radar, enabling the A-50 to detect airborne targets up to 404 miles away and ground targets up to 186 miles. This aircraft plays a pivotal role in surveillance, interception, supporting ground operations, and overseeing battlefield dynamics.

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