Russia will no longer be able to use A-50 aircraft

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Russia will no longer be able to use A-50 aircraft

As a result of a successful operation by the Ukrainian Air Force, Russia lost an A-50 long-range radar detection aircraft and an IL-22 airborne control center.

The Commander-in-Chief of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, Valeriy Zaluzhnyi, confirmed the defeat of the Russian planes and thanked the Air Force for the perfectly planned and executed operation in the Azov Sea.

The importance of shooting down the A-50

The A-50 and A-50U long-range radar surveillance aircraft (modernized version of the A-50) are designed to track air targets and coordinate strike aircraft in targeting air, land and sea targets, and can also serve as an air command post for fighter aircraft. They allow the air force using them to have an advantage over other forces deploying aircraft in the airspace.

The United States and NATO countries use a similar system called Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS).

During a missile attack, airborne radar detection boards detect air defense launches, which allows the location of the systems to be determined and the next series of launches to bypass or destroy the air defense systems.

As of 2010, the Russian Aerospace Forces had 26 airborne radar aircraft in service. The exact number of combat-ready A-50s is currently unknown, but it is lower than the number of available aircraft. According to the Belaruski Gayun monitoring group, as of the beginning of 2023, Russia had 9 such aircraft in service.

The cost of one such vessel is about $330 million.

The crew of the A-50 radar consists of five people, as well as ten tactical crew members. At the same time, it is flown by quite specific specialists, as few people know how to operate such equipment.

One of the A-50s was hit by drones in February 2023 at the Machulishchi airfield in Belarus. First of all, the radar antenna was damaged. The organizers of the sabotage are believed to be Belarusian partisans who fled the country after the incident. The Ukrainian Armed Forces did not confirm their involvement in the incident. The plane was subsequently evacuated to Russia, but it required complex repairs.

мапа польоту літака А50

They will not fly anymore

Russian sources have indicated that the A50 has a range of 400 kilometers to detect a fighter-type target, and even 600 kilometers at high altitude. Moreover, it allegedly has the ability to detect ground targets at a range of 300 km.

However, Defence Express refer to the official website of the Russian Ministry of Defense, which indicates a detection range of 220-240 km. But even these figures, in their opinion, can be questioned due to the omission of such an important parameter as the height of the target.

Therefore, even if we assume a range of 240 kilometers, it becomes clear why the A-50 was shot down near the coastline of the Sea of Azov.

Thus, even if Russia still has combat-ready A50s, they can be safely used at a much greater distance, as they are a good target for the Ukrainian Air Force. And at a distance of 500 kilometers from the front line, they simply cannot see anything.

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