Russia deploys airborne early warning and control aircraft in Crimea

Arhiv photo of A-50. by Nikita Belyakov
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The Russian military has deployed Beriev A-50 (NATO reporting name: Mainstay)airborne early warning and control (AEW) Ilyushin Il-22 aircraft and Airborne Command Post aircraft on the occupied Crimean peninsula.

According to dumskaya.net, the aircraft landed at the airbase Belbek near Sevastopol in Crimea.  After the Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimea in March 2014, a fighter regiment of the 27th Mixed Aviation Division, flying Su-27s, was established at Belbek.

The A-50 aircraft was developed from the llyushin IL-76MD military transport aircraft manufactured by the Ilyushin Aviation Complex Joint Stock Company based in Moscow. The A-50 aircraft detects and identifies airborne objects, determines their coordinates and flight path data and transfers the information to command posts. The A-50 also acts as a control centre, guiding fighter-interceptors and tactical air force aircraft to combat areas in order to attack ground targets at low altitudes.

The Il-22 (Coot-B) is an airborne command post variant. It was developed by the Myasischev design bureau it was converted from the Il-18D and known as Il-18D-26 Bizon. The new modification of Il-22 will be able to selectively turn off the electronics of enemy airplanes and drones, as well as ground-based air defense systems.

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