The XI International Forum

Arctic: today and the future

December 2-4, 2021, St.Petersburg



How will the newest A-50U strengthen the Russian borders?


How will the newest A-50U strengthen the Russian borders?

The Russian Air and Space Forces will deploy unique A-50U long-range radar detection aircraft in the Arctic. The vehicles are capable of detecting any air targets, from ballistic missiles and hypersonic vehicles to drones and cruise missiles  hundreds of kilometers away. The appearance of A-50U in the polar region will radically strengthen the northern borders of Russia, experts say.

According to Izvestia newspaper sources, the possibility of basing of A-50U at military bases Arctic Shamrock and Northern Clover is being studied now. But the final decision has not been made yet.

The use of unique aircrafts in the Far North became possible after they were successfully tested in the Arctic conditions. It happened during the Umka-2021 exercise, which took place this March. Their results were considered successful.

The A-50U is an upgrade of the basic A-50 model developed in Soviet times. The upgraded version can detect and simultaneously escort more targets than its predecessors. More fuel-efficient engines allow the aircraft to stay in the air longer. The new machine can detect an enemy bomber more than 600 km away, and a cruise missile at a distance of over 215 km.
The aircrafts are equipped with powerful radars and serve as air command posts. Upon receiving data on the aerial situation, the head of the operation can give commands to the strike force directly from the aircraft, providing real-time target coordinates. Both combat aircraft and ground-based air defense assets can receive data from the flying command post. Since April 2017, one or two aircrafts have been permanently on duty at the Hmeimim airbase, Siria.

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