First Upgraded Il-20 Completes Flight Testing

ILYUSHIN DIRECTOR-General Viktor Livanov announced on July 20 that flight-testing of the first upgraded Ilyushin Il-20 Coot-A electronic intelligence aircraft is complete.

He said the aircraft carries «new, more advanced radio-electronic equipment», but declined to provide details of the new equipment fit. Original equipment included a 26ft (7.9m)-long Igla-1 sideways-looking airborne radar pod under the forward fuselage, plus two A-87P panoramic cameras in the forward section and antennas for the Romb ELINT system in the rear of lateral fairings on the front fuselage. A series of large and small antennae under the fuselage are for the Kvadrat ELINT system — capable of emitter location, radio frequency and power measurement, whilst also being able to determine pulse duration and transmission cycles. The aircraft also has a Vishnya (cherry tree) COMINT suite, manned by eight system operators.

Around 20 Il-20s were built and Livanov said that all those remaining in the inventory may be upgraded. It is unclear how many Il-20s remain in the inventory, but the survivors are all now believed to be based at Chkalovskaya Air Base, near Moscow, with the 8th ADON (Special Purpose Aviation Division). This unit comprises the 70th, 353rd and 354th APONs (Special Purpose Aviation Regiments), with a variety of types, although it remains unknown which Regiment operates the Il-20s.

Although based at Chkalovskaya, the ll-20s are regularly deployed to other air bases, including Irkutsk, Ivanovo, Kubinka, Levashovo, Novgorod-Krechevitsy, Ostafevo and Rostov-na-Donu, amongst others.

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