Russia’s next generation early radar warning aircraft, the Beriyev A-100 Premier “flying radar,” is in its final stages of development now. It is scheduled to begin testing before this year is out, Technodinamika Holding Company Deputy Head Igor Nasenkov, one of the parties engaged in the plane’s development, told Sputnik.
“We have every reason to hope that we’ll be able to test fly the plane before the end of this year,” Nasenkov said, adding that talking about the A-100’s mass production now would be premature.
Deputy Defense Minister Yuri Borisov said in May that testing of Russia’s all-new AWACS plane could begin in July.
“This is a priority for our state armament program. I can tell you all that work is in progress and is strictly on schedule and we’ll get down to state trial testing in July,” Borisov said.
The Beriyev A-100, which is based on the Il-76MD-90A transport aircraft, was first tested in flight on a flying laboratory in April.
The A-100 Premier is a new generation of early radar warning and control aircraft designed to track aerial targets, including US F-22 and F-35 stealth fighters, and surface ships, as well as alert command centers about developments in the sky or at sea.
The A-100, already nicknamed “a flying mushroom” due to the distinctive rotating radar dome above the fuselage, is an upgrade of its A-50 predecessor that first flew in 1978 and entered service in 1984.
Its avionics and configuration are similar to the A-50’s, but the A-100 is built around a new multilateration radar unit featuring a pair of phased-array antennas capable of detecting enemy fighter planes at a distance of up to 600 kilometers (372 miles) and surface ships up to 400 kilometers (250 miles) away.
Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said that as part of the ongoing R&D process, Russia plans to build two A-100 Premier planes - a flying lab and a test aircraft.