Airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft
Russian Air Force
Beriev Aircraft Company, Vega
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Beriev А-100 is a twin-engine airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft based on the improved Il-76MD-90A (Il-476) military transport aircraft airframe designed by Ilyushin Aviation Complex and manufactured by Aviastar-SP.
The new aircraft will be used by the Russian Air Force to perform detection and tracking of airborne, land and sea-based targets at long ranges. It can also provide airborne intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, and command and control for fighter and attack aircraft in air-to-air or air-to-ground attack missions. The aircraft will replace the ageing aircraft A-50 and A-50U.
The A-100 AEW&C performed its maiden flight in November 2017, while the aircraft took to the skies for the first time with activated radar and mission equipment in February 2022. The tests confirmed the normal functioning of the equipment and the aircraft’s on-board systems in a high-intensity radiated environment.
The aircraft is expected to complete the preliminary flight tests and advance the aviation complex for state joint tests in 2022.
Beriev А-100 AEW&C aircraft development details
The state-of-the-art А-100 is built by Russian aircraft manufacturer Beriev Aircraft Company in collaboration with Radio Engineering Concern Vega, under the state armament programme of the Russian Federation. Beriev Aircraft Company and Vega are part of Rostec.
Ilyushin received a contract from the Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation for the transfer of up to 39 Il-76MD-90A aircraft for RUR140bn ($4.46bn) in October 2012.
The А-100 prototype, named A-100LL, was created by Beriev based on the A-50 aircraft. The first flight of the A-100LL was conducted in October 2016. A prototype fitted with the radar surveillance and guidance systems performed its maiden flight test in April 2017.
A scale model of the aircraft took part in the Army 2016 exhibition held in Moscow, Russia, in September 2016.
The А-100 is three times more efficient than its predecessor and is fitted with modern navigation and avionics, new propulsion systems, and an advanced fuel system. It is designed to offer superior aerodynamic performance to the Il-76MD-90A.
Details of Beriev А-100 AEW&C radar system
A round radar dome fitted on two struts above the fuselage incorporates Premier 476 dual-range, multi-position, panoramic active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar with two rotating phased array antennae produced by Vega.
The phased array radars can perform mechanical bearing scanning and active electronic vertical phase scanning to provide a wider angle of coverage. The radar beam is electronically steered in elevation angle, while the azimuth angle is achieved through mechanical rotation of the dome.
With a rotation time of five seconds, the AESA array improves the radar’s ability to track fast manoeuvrable targets.
The panoramic surveillance radars and state-of-the-art computer systems on board the aircraft will help identify, detect and acquire aerial targets in three axes at a distance of 600km and surface targets at 400km.
The airborne radar warning and guidance system also comprises identification friend or foe (IFF), radio communication equipment and a digital computer. The target data is transmitted to the missile command posts using a command radio link to guide anti-aircraft missiles.
Cockpit and avionics
Beriev А-100 AEW&C aircraft is outfitted with a glass cockpit incorporating a new-generation suite of digital navigation and control systems produced by KRET.
The systems include BINS-SP-2 strapdown inertial navigation system, automatic flight control system, night-vision devices, target equipment and digital navigation computing system.
The plane’s avionics system allows it to acquire, designate and track stationary and moving targets in both automatic and manual modes with increased flight safety.
The state-of-the-art laser gyroscopes and quartz accelerometers are used to determine the position of the aircraft.
The equipment allows for identification of the aircraft location coordinates and aircraft travel parameters in a standalone mode.
Electronic intelligence (ELINT) and electronic warfare (EW) systems are fitted to the A-100 aircraft to offer protection from enemy weapons.
Engines and performance of А-100 AEW&C aircraft
The Russian Air Force’s А-100 AEW&C aircraft is powered by a pair of modern PS-90A-76 engines, which develop a thrust of 3,500kgf each. The powerplant offers enhanced manoeuvrability over the Il-76MD-90A aircraft while reducing operating costs.
The aircraft has an endurance of approximately 260 minutes.