Though gaining significantly much less publicity than different packages to develop new generations of Russian navy plane such because the Ka-52 assault helicopter or Tu-160M bomber, the A-100 airborne early warning (AEW) plane has the potential to function an essential power multiplier for the capabilities of the Russian fleet. The plane made its first flight utilizing its new sensor suite in February 2022, over 4 years after its maiden flight in November 2017, with this system having confronted appreciable delays due primarily to deficiencies within the Russian electronics trade. The A-100 will substitute the A-50 which has been in service since 1989 the yr the Chilly Warfare ended, and offers superior reliability, better immunity to jamming or spoofing, a better endurance, a for much longer detection vary and decreased work for crews. Most of the applied sciences developed for the A-100 have already been used to reinforce the A-50 and develop the improved A-50U variant, which has a far superior sensor suite and a detection vary towards small fighter measurement targets which elevated from 400km to over 700km. The A-50U can observe as much as 60 targets concurrently, coordinate operations by fighter and interceptor models, and reportedly even assist information lengthy vary air to air missiles such because the R-37M to their targets. Its a lot better protection and reliability makes it a less expensive asset.
The A-100’s sensor suite will reportedly have a efficiency round 30 p.c superior to the A-50U, and its means to share knowledge with new Russian fight jets akin to Su-30SM fighters and MiG-31BM interceptors has the potential to considerably enhance models’ situational consciousness and permit them to have interaction targets with better precision. Not like in NATO air forces which depend on light-weight fighters such because the F-16 and Rafale to comprise most models, the massive majority of Russian fighters and interceptors are heavyweights which already use very giant radars – with the MiG-31 deploying the most important of any plane designed for air to air fight the Zaslon. All fashionable Russian fighters and interceptors thus have already got a detection vary of 400km or extra, which reduces the necessity for help from airborne early warning plane. As well as, newer Russian fighter designs typically subject a number of radars with the Su-35 deploying three and the stealth Su-57 having six.
Russian fighters’ benefits in radar measurement is supplemented by the superior efficiency of electronically scanned array radars, which the Soviet Air Drive started to combine onto lively interceptors from 1981 twenty years forward of its Wester rivals, which means in contrast to within the West no Russian fighter developed within the final twenty years makes use of a mechanically scanned radar. However, Russia’s benefit in radar applied sciences inherited from the USSR has diminished for the reason that Soviet collapse with the nation lagging behind within the integration of lively electronically scanned array radars (AESA) onto its fight plane models. America has for the reason that Chilly Warfare’s finish leapfrogged passive electronically scanned array radar applied sciences for its fighters, that are utilized by virtually all Russian fighters at this time, and moved straight to fielding AESA radars. from the yr 2000. Not even a single Russian fighters squadron has but to be deployed with AESA radars. The induction of the A-100 will thus present a a lot wanted enchancment to the Russian Air Drive’s situational consciousness, significantly as longer vary air to air missiles enter service extra broadly, and can be pursued in parallel to the induction of the nation’s first fighter squadrons utilizing AESA radars — particularly new Su-57 stealth fighters.