Racing «flying radars»

Our motherland can not return to the world market and have AWACS aircraft
In February last year on combat duty officially atonement first deeply modernized plane distant early warning and control (AEW & C and Y) A-50U. This aviation complex received a year of operation, the most highest rated Glavkomat Army Air Forces, although conceptually it is seriously behind zabugornyh own peers.

At the same time, the prospects of adopting created to replace A-50/A-50U latest Russian AWACS A-100 remain very murky. Deadlines for this costly and ambitious military programs from constantly shifted, its current status is not disclosed. Global aircraft market such as class — a huge «flying radars» — currently stagnating, which is unlikely to succeed to overcome (it will increase faster), taking into account the very highest price and technological complexity of these machines is also very limited demand. Boom second half of the 90’s — early 2000s on such aircraft systems have long faded away. Air Force advanced countries staffed bolshennymi AWACS and other countries prefer to buy planes smallest dimension, and this market is very limited.
Rivals distant detection

U.S. monopoly on aviation systems detect distant USSR destroyed in April 1965, when adopted Russian Air Force plane was adopted radar surveillance and detection of marine and air targets Tu-126 made by Andrey Tupolev Design Bureau on the basis of passenger Tu-114 with radio systems (RTC) «Liana». It should be noted that the first Americans flying radar TBM-3W did even during the second world war, fitted out in 1944, radar AN/APS-20 deck torpedo Grumman Avenger. Then these radars installed on a bomber Boeing B-17.

The main objective of the Tu-126 during the cool war, like his American counterparts in those years — Lockheed EC-121Warning Star and deck Grumman E-1 Tracer, became distant intercept enemy aircraft and preventing its jet fighters. «Americans» have fought wars in Vietnam and around the world, the Tu-126 in the main were busy patrolling the air space of the Arctic.

In either AWACS AWACS (Airborne Warning and Control System) of the third generation to solve puzzles detect air targets, hovering at low and ultra low — act outside the then existing ground-based radars. Detection range further increased, the radar received unchanging groove review by spinning radar with passive grating placed in the «mushroom» dorsal fairing.

Plane distant radar detection E-2C Hawkeye. 12th airshow Dubai Air Show. Photos from websites and

Deck AWACS third generation Northrop Grumman E-2 Hawkeye (first delivery in 1964) with its modifications to this day remains the «flying radar» Navy USA. This system is in service of Israel, Land of the Rising Sun, Singapore, France, Egypt and Taiwan. Aircraft Boeing E-3 Sentry (first delivery in 1977) became the basis for the system and have AEW U.S. Air Force, and then to group AWACS The states of NATO.

England received these systems detect distant last almost as initially relied on AWACS aircraft and its development have Nimrod AEW.3, created on the basis patrol aircraft Nimrod (company Hawker Siddeley — now part of BAE Systems). But more than ten years (1973-1984) the British suffered a cruel programm fiasco — none of the 11 ordered by Nimrod was not accepted by the military department of the United Kingdom. Radar ARY-920 proved to be very unreliable and slow to work, developers have not been able to overcome the technical prepyadstviya.

From «50» to «100»

Russian answer to the third generation aviation complex became distant detection A-50 (with RTC «Bumblebee»), made on the basis of military transport aircraft Il-76MD Taganrog Aviation Scientific-Technical Complex (Beriev) name Beriev together with NGOs «Vega -M «(Capital Research Institute of Instrument — now JSC» Radio Engineering Corporation «Vega»). First flight of the A-50 did December 19, 1978, in 1989, aviation complex officially accepted for service. Parallel in Iraq made another AWACS aircraft and Y based on the Russian Il-76MD — Adnan with French radar Thompson-CSF Tiger-G.

A-50 plane at the MAKS-2009. Source:

Radar radio complex A-50 fighter was able to find at low altitude up to 400 km, at high altitude — up to 600 km, sea goal — a distance of 400 km. A-50 could accompany immediately to 60 goals and 10 more imposing «their» fighters.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union and the beginning of the 2000s, any work on the creation of new systems and AWACS have been carried out. Joint programm Antonov Design Bureau and NPO «Vega-M» to develop AWACS aircraft and U-71 An RTC with «Quantum» was still frozen in 1990 due to lack of funding.

That began to change a couple of years back. In 2009, completed the first tests of the modernized deep AWACS aircraft and the A-50U (Beriev and concern «Vega»), 2012, the first car was officially accepted into service. Henceforth modernization aircomplexes being planned — the plane per year. Total Air Force RF are 26 A-50, they are all based on the 2457 th Air Base in Ivanovo.

Upgraded RTC aircraft A-50U has improved abilities to detect low-flying air targets and unobtrusive measures their angular coordinates, speed and range — detects different types of air and ground targets at ranges up to 650 and 300 km, respectively, now he «sees» and helicopters. With all of this complex provides support up to 300 simultaneous targets and guidance of several 10’s fighters. Brand new element base has allowed significantly reduce the weight of RTK and fuel increment in store. Structurally improved jobs crew, has a recreation room, a snack bar and a toilet.

Naturally, on the one hand, the Russian Air Force received a new and qualitatively, for a variety of evidence generals, pilots and professionals, successful complex. But on the other — this system also achieved modernization own limit. In August 2011, the then Air Force Commander Colonel General Alexander Zelin said that the all-new AWACS aircraft and the A-100, filled radar with active electronically scanned array (AESA) will rise into the air in 2016, but the real status applets nothing unclear. The representative of the Russian military-industrial complex as commented on the situation: «The process is obviously delayed, deadlines applets developer (concern» Vega «) will shift.» One clarification — no airborne platform, the new RTC plan to put on a military transport aircraft Il-76MD-90 («article 476»), mass production is due to start at the Ulyanovsk aircraft factory «Aviastar-SP». While this machine exists in a single copy.

Version, sounding more often on the sidelines during the meetings on defense industry and military aviation industry — technical difficulties coming radar complex. But the main thing that adaptation developed radio complex to IL-476 is not used as a pretext for a successful closing of the program and for the deployment of new R & D as a new financing and new terms.

Sweden, Israel, AFAR …

In the early 90’s, when in Russia on the «front far discovered» there was no change and modernization in the United States carried out the modernization of their own systems, the market almost broke the most advanced at that time, Israeli and Swedish system, kitted radar AFAR. In 1993, three such complex Phalcon (development company Elta Systems — Israeli units concern IAI), installed on the Boeing 707, changed South American E-3C in the Israeli Air Force, Swedish Air Force a year later began receiving aircraft Saab 340 Russian radar Erieye (company Ericsson, presently comprising Saab AB).

Russian-Israeli project to promote the Chinese market of A-50AI radar EL/M-2075 Phalcon complex in the late 90s suffered misfortune. Israel closed the deal under U.S. pressure. But to make the system find their own buyer. India acquired three A-50EI, deliveries were completed in 2011, in the Indian plans to buy another 2-such aircraft.

Further development Phalcon system manifested in the development of highly successful light aircraft and AWACS have Eitam — Israeli radar installed (antenna on the fuselage sides) on the South American business aircraft Gulfstream G550. In the Israeli Air Force received three G550 Eitam in 2006, four more cars bought in Singapore. In 2011, IAI announced the launch of a joint venture with European aerospace concern EADS project to create and AWACS aircraft have small dimension based on light turboprop military transporter CASA C-295 of Airbus Military.

Swedish rivals offered to the market in the late 90’s one of more of favorite tracks — light aircraft R.99 (EMB-145AEW) — complex Erieye, established in the Brazilian regional aircraft Embraer EMB-145. Besides Brazil, these machines were bought by Greece, Mexico, UAE, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Thailand.

AWACS Brazilian EMB-145I for the Indian Air Force. Source:

EMB-145AEW become the base platform for the implementation of the Indian state applets «flying radar.» Radio Equipment India initially meant to do on their own, but the work was delayed.

Vegetarian programm to create light complexes, similar Israeli and Swedish, was embodied in a joint project concerns Boeing and Northrop Grumman E-737, developed on the basis of extensive vserasprostranennogo passenger aircraft Boeing 737. Fate applets was not very happy, because in the process of its realization prices airplanes have doubled compared to the planned (200 million dollars per unit). Yet complexes purchased by Australia, Turkey and South Korea.

Another South American lightweight complex — Northrop Grumman E-2C Hawkeye also could not compete with the Israelis and the Swedes on the international market, but mass production machine supported domestic consumer — Naval Aviation USA, ordering almost 40 aircraft. Three cars E-2C France acquired for their own sole aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle.

In 2010, the U.S. Navy began to substitution of old aircomplexes Hawkeye (70 cars) at its last modification — E-2 Advanced Hawkeye c new radar system AN/APY-9 AFAR, which is quite an unusual way in the mechanical design of an old fairing.

Chinese jerk

Following his usual method of copying a full military equipment, China reached the relatively great success in the field of aviation systems distant detection. In 2003, the Chinese raised in the air complex KJ-2000, made on the basis of Russian Il-76MD and equipped with radar AFAR its development. Currently in the Air Force of People’s Liberation Army of China, eight of these machines.

Plane distant radar detection KJ-200 Air China

Parallel development easier ZDK-03 (RTC AFAR in a rotating disk fairing) based transporter Shaanxi Y-8 (clone Russian military transport aircraft An-12). Four ZDK-03 purchased Pakistan. Based on Y-8 created and Chinese AWACS aircraft and have KJ-200 with 2 flat AFAR motionless in the fairing.

AWACS aircraft management and ZDK-03 (Karakoram Eagle) Chinese built specifically for Pakistan. Source:

To equip China’s first aircraft carrier «Liaoning» (the last Russian heavy aircraft-carrying cruiser «Varyag») since mid-2009 is being developed lung deck AWACS aircraft and Y Y-7AEW based transporter Y-7 (copy of Russian AN-24).

Chinese designers say: all the equipment complexes created, produced and assembled at the Russian enterprises that is completely legitimate distrust of professionals, taking into account the highest technological complexity of systems, love DIC PRC cloning and very spirited implementation of programs (least half the 10-ka years).

Yet the highest degree of completion of projects on Chinese AWACS and Y, their entry into the mass production and exports suggests that the least than 10 years, China will take second place behind the United States in this highly profitable sector of the global arms market. Russian developers have left quite a bit of time to intercept his colleagues from China initiative.

Ivan Konovalov

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