How to strengthen Russian air reconnaissance, by Evgeny Pozdnyakov for VZGLYAD. 07.03.2023.
Experts: Russia needs to strengthen its aerial reconnaissance not only qualitatively, but also quantitatively.
Sergei Shoigu announced the need to modernize the AWACS A-50 aircraft. This model has proven itself well in the NWO. However, the number of threats and challenges facing Russia requires not only a qualitative increase in this area, but also a quantitative one. How exactly could the domestic military-industrial complex solve this problem?
Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu, as part of a conference call with the leadership of the Russian Armed Forces, said that A-50 early warning and control aircraft (AWACS) need to be modernized to improve the efficiency of solving problems. This was reported on the official website of the military department.
Shoigu noted that these systems are actively used within the framework of the NWO. He stressed that the Taganrog Aviation Scientific and Technical Complex named after G. M. Beriev is engaged in the repair and modernization of this model under a state contract.
Recall that the A-50 is an AWACS aircraft created on the basis of the military transport Il-76. This model itself finds, identifies and accompanies air, ground and sea targets. He transmits all information about them to command posts, and also independently directs fighters and front-line aircraft to enemy targets.
According to open data, in its latest modifications, the A-50 can track up to 300 air targets, it sees an enemy bomber for 650 km, a cruise missile for 215 km. In addition, thanks to the improved radio-technical complex, the A-50U is able to detect even relatively small targets, such as drones.
The importance of these devices for SVR cannot be overestimated. It is also recognized by the enemy. In May, the Armed Forces of Ukraine planned to carry out a terrorist attack using a UAV at the Severny military airfield in the Ivanovo region. According to the FSB, the A-50s were the targets of the Ukrainian military.
And on February 26, at the Belarusian military airfield Machulishchi, saboteurs tried to undermine the A-50, reminds Kommersant . Two drones were found at the scene. Later, President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko announced the arrest of someone involved in the attempted sabotage. And on local television they showed a video with the A-50 aircraft of the Russian Aerospace Forces.
In connection with these attacks, the AWACS models available to the RF Armed Forces are of paramount importance. In addition, gradually due to the actions of NATO countries outside Ukraine - primarily in Poland and the Baltic countries - the need for AWACS aircraft continues to grow. That is, according to experts, Russia needs not only to modernize the existing A-50s, but also to look for a simple and cheap alternative to them in the here and now mode.
Military expert Ilya Kramnik in his Telegram channel noted that the lack of specialized equipment can be overcome with the help of the An-12, having put the appropriate equipment on them. For example, the H035 Irbis radar "at the first stage is removed from the Su-35 fighters under repair." According to the expert, the number of models that undergo repairs is generally constant. Given the fighting and intensive flights, there are "not as few of them as we would like."
“In the future, it will be possible to ship several new ones. Information from the radar and cameras is fed to 4-6 operator workplaces, equipped in the cargo compartment. The output is something like Nimrod AEW in native aspens. As a fallback option, you can use the Tu-154, which the Air Force has enough in storage, but this option will become more expensive,” he argues.
“Thus, during the year the Russian Federation will receive about six aircraft with a loitering duration of about eight hours. In this case, the equipment complex will be sufficient to detect the overwhelming number of targets in the theater of operations. In two years, it will be possible to create about one and a half dozen such models,” the expert believes.
“After the start of the NMD, Russia's need for reconnaissance aircraft has increased significantly. This is dictated by simple reasons: the area of necessary control has increased. An existential issue was the improvement of existing surveillance systems not only for Ukraine, but also for the Baltic countries and Poland,” said Vladimir Popov, retired major general, honored military pilot of the Russian Federation.
“Of course, ground stations do their job well, but monitoring the situation from flying command posts and location systems is much easier and faster. And here we are faced with the main problem: the available A-50s are critically few to perform such tasks," the expert emphasizes.
“In this regard, the question arises of increasing the number of our reconnaissance aircraft and their modernization. Technical approaches also need to be rethought.
Roughly speaking, it is possible to significantly reduce the size of the locators, thereby freeing up space for more electronics. It will also be possible to equip the aircraft with antenna systems, add not only a circular, but also a side view,” Popov emphasizes.
“In addition, it would be nice to integrate the existing systems into a single air defense structure, combine them with air and sea components. As a result, we will get a well-coordinated version of airspace control, with which you can track dangers in all strategically important directions,” the source notes.
“In principle, such tasks are partially solved by the development of the Taganrog Aviation Scientific and Technical Complex named after Georgy Beriev A-100. Nevertheless, modernization projects of this kind will bear fruit only in 3-4 years, and it is important for us to get the result now,” the expert believes.
“In my opinion, the use of the An-12 with the placement of side-scan radar is a pretty good idea. This is a reliable model that will allow closing the gap in the intelligence sphere. By and large, many transport aircraft can be adapted for the use of radar systems,” the interlocutor emphasizes.
“Nevertheless, such decisions should be considered only as temporary. Russia needs to create a reliable unified intelligence system, within the framework of which the modernized A-50 and A-100 are indispensable,” Popov sums up.