The Russian Air Force has deployed the upgraded version of the Beriev A-50U airborne warning and control system (AWACS) aircraft, spokesman colonel Vladimir Drik said.

RIA Novosti has reported the colonel as saying the upgraded aircraft is equipped with an advanced onboard computer, satellite communication and active phased array radar systems.

The aircraft features greater range and enhanced tracking capabilities to detect targets such as hostile helicopters, cruise missiles and supersonic aircraft.

The Beriev A-50 is based on the Ilyushin Il-76 transport aircraft, and can detect up to ten fighter aircraft for either air-to-air intercept or air-to-ground attack missions.

The A-50 entered service in 1984 and 16 aircraft are currently operational with the Russian Air Force.