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The Beriev A-50 Shmel (Template:Lang-ru 'bumble bee'), (NATO reporting name: Mainstay) is a Russian airborne warning and control system (AWACS) aircraft based on the Ilyushin Il-76 transport. Developed to replace the Tupolev Tu-126 'Moss', the A-50 first flew in 1978. It entered service in 1984, with about 40 produced by 1992.
Design and development
The A-50 can control up to 10 fighter aircraft for either air-to-air intercept or air-to-ground attack missions. The A-50 is capable of flying for 4 hours at a 1000 km from its base at a maximum takeoff weight of 190 tons. The aircraft can be refuelled by Il-78 tankers, although some sources indicates flight tests showed that aerial refueling was all but impossible because the rotodome would hit turbulence from the tanker, causing severe buffeting.
The radar "Vega-M" is designed by MNIIP, Moscow, and produced by NPO Vega. The "Vega-M" is capable of tracking up to 50 targets simultaneously within 230 kilometers. Large targets, like surface ships, can be tracked at a distance of 400 km.
- A-50M - Modernized Russian Version fitted with mid-air refueling capability.
- A-50U - updated Russian variant
- Izdeliye-676 - One-off stop-gap telemetry and tracking aircraft.
- Izdeliye-776 - One-off stop-gap telemetry and tracking aircraft.
- Izdeliye-976 (SKIP) - (СКИП - Самолетный Контрольно-Измерительный Пункт, Airborne Check-Measure-and-Control Center) - Il-76 based Range Control and Missile tracking platform. Initially built to support Raduga Kh-55 cruise missile tests.Has fixed radar cover filled with other equipment and glassed navigator cockpit, (One prototype and five production conversions).
- Izdeliye-1076 - One-off special mission aircraft with unknown duties.
- A-50I - variant with Israeli Phalcon radar, designed for China but project cancelled under pressure of United States
- A-50E/I - export version with Russian Shmel or Israeli Phalcon radar
- KJ-2000 - Chinese variant based on the A-50I airframe
- Russian Air Force - 29 in service
- Indian Air Force - 3 operational, RFP for 3 more sent to IAI for the IAI Phalcon AEW&C radar system to be mounted on the A-50.
- Crew: 15
- Length: 49.59m (152 ft 8 in)
- Wingspan: 50.50 m (165 ft 6 in)
- Height: 14.76 m (48 ft 5 in)
- Wing area: 300 m² (3,228 ft²)
- Empty weight: 75,000 kg (165,347 lb)
- Max takeoff weight: 170,000 kg (374,786 lb)
- Powerplant: 4× Aviadvigatel PS-90A turbofan, 157 kN (35,200 lbf) each
Comparable aircraft: E-3 Sentry
- vectorsite.net Beriev A-50
- Spyflight.co.uk - Beriev A-50 Mainstay
- Aviation.ru A-50
- Red-stars.org - A-50 Mainstay
- Source article of NVO (in Russian)
- Iranian AWACS (in Persian)
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It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Beriev A-50".