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Russia Deployed A-50U Airborne Early Warning And Control Aircraft To Syria


Russia Deployed A-50U Airborne Early Warning And Control Aircraft To Syria

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The Russian military has deployed the airborne early warning and control (AEW) aircraft to Syria.

According to local sources, the AEW aircraft arrived the Hmeimim airbase in the town of Jableh few days after the US missile strike on the Al-Sha’irat airbase.

The aircraft was identified as an upgraded version of the A-50U equipped with the Vega Shmel-M radar, capable of detect the launch of a missile or a fighter jet in the range of 650km. The detection range for ground targets is 300km.

The A-50U can conduct command and control air operations, guide friendly fighters and track multiple enemy fighters at the same time.  The aircraft can remain in the air for more than 9 hours, and has the ability to detect ground targets and ships.

Last week, Sergey Rudskoy, Head of the Russian General Staff Main Operations Department, announced that Russia had deployed a multi-level control system in Syria that control the entire Syrian airspace from the Hmeimim airbase.

The deployment of the A-50U in Syria is believed to be aimed at improving the ability to detect hostile aircraft and missiles expanding the air defense capabilities of Russian forces.

According to reports, the previous deployment of such a plane in Syria took place in 2015.



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  • Joe Doe

    Deploying AEW aircraft indicates that the S-300 and S-400 are not able detect or defend against missiles or airplanes

    • Barba_Papa

      I respectfully disagree. You don’t defend airspace using the radars of individual missile batteries, you need an integrated command and control network that combines all batteries, radars and if possible AEW aircraft. This was something that Syria sorely lacked and why the IDF could enter Syrian airspace at will. If the Russians want to deter future American and Turkish aggression they need to have an integrated command and control network in place.

    • grumpy_carpenter

      The more radars you have tracking an object from different altitudes and bearings the easier it is to to get a quality track on ‘stealth aircraft’.

      Ground based radars are limited in what they can track by the curvature of the earth. AWACs can see further because of their altitude. For example the volley of cruise missiles the USA fired last month were routed around the Russian SAMs so they couldn’t be tracked by ground based systems. The Russians have point air defence systems (Pantsir) so their bases were safe but these systems only pick up low flying targets at close range.

      The IAF, USAF, Turks and Saudi’s all have AWAC’s that can operate in range of Syrian airspace. They Syrians do not. If they are under attack by these nations the Syrians are at a disadvantage. Why make the USAF and IAF’s jobs easier than it has to be?

  • John k

    will that enable the Russians to stop all the American and Israeli and Turkey’s air strikes against Syria? If so awesome . if not it’s worthless effort and won’t win Russia any allies

    • Terence Silvestre Jr.

      Well said my friend.

    • Nigel Maund

      Correct – another fine Russian move on the Syrian chessboard!

      • Alex Black

        When you play with russia, there is always a raise

    • zman

      Fighting anyone but ISIS and ‘terrorist’ entities is not part of the Russian agreement. They are not there to protect Syrian assets, they have stated this many times. That does not mean that the Syrians will not benefit, however. They can warn Syria of attacks (and have), but have not participated in action…so this will be far from useless.

    • Alex Black

      might have a different purpose, like keeping an eye on the nutty Turks, and Trump who also unpredictable qualities. The others correctly pointed out that the system has other applications, such as coordinating aircraft, in the absence of syrian air bases, and controlling large operations in regions with limited command and control structure.

  • sagbotgamot

    it covers the whole of Syria. Nice. But i think it’s mission is only to protect russian military and its installations in Syria. it will not interfere if US Tomahawks hits Syrian airfields or Israeli jets bomb Damascus International Airport because some Hezbollah is hiding somewhere out there. Right?

    • John Whitehot


    • Terence Silvestre Jr.

      You’re quite right, my son.

    • zman

      You’re right, with a caveat. As with the Russians warning Assad that an attack on Al-Sha’irat air base was imminent, they will be obliged to warn the Syrians of any detected attack. This should give the Syrians a heads up when needed, but as you say, this does not mean the Russians will involve themselves in defending Syrian assets. The big question will be, will Russia allow Syrian defense access to their grid?

    • Alex Black

      I think Russia has strategic patience with Israel up to a point. My review of Israeli mode of operation in the region suggests that the strikes target individuals rather than equipment. Thus, I believe the understanding is that israel will go wherever they want and kill whoever they want, but they won’t mess with assad or seriously degrade his capability. Once upon a time they destroyed some weapons, namely a system Bastion-P that was being stored in Syria because a similar rocket was used to destroy an israeli ship and appeared to be in the hands of hezbollah. However, that notwithstanding, I think the Russian red line is a large scale attack on Syrian assets. This understanding between the Russians and the Israelis is arguably what gave Trump the idea he could get away with it too.

    • Thegr8rambino

      I dont get why the hell Russia won’t defend Syrian military assets from foreign attack. Isn’t that the whole point of them being there? To help Assad? Well letting his forces be attacked certainly isn’t helping him!!!! I’m not saying go and invade the attacking countries, but if Russia is scared of starting a wider war, or nuclear war, those fears are really unfounded. How the hell would defending an ally start a nuclear war and who would that benefit?

  • Jonathan Murray

    This is for support of ground operations. You think all those AWACS flights the US do in Afghanistan are for air defence? These planes work with Helis and ground forces to detect and destroy enemy concentrations. But they only work with connected Helis and troops – so either they are equipping and training SAA with advanced comms… or its the beginning of more widespread Russian involvement (hopefully!).

    • Wahid Algiers

      Hopefully. Russia needs to get more influence in the world at all and why not starting in the ME, esp. in Syria. So it needs only to shows all the other aspirants worldwide that Russia is a good partner worthy to leave the US. Military said: No great benefit for SAA. Any information of this fucking early warning systen will come too late when Usraells jets or missiles are on the way. Control system? Yes – for ground operations aso.

    • Alex Black

      This would explain the recent movement of new and advanced helicopters into the region. It would be interesting to see if Russians really have the capability to execute these types of coordinated operations. It seems to me, Putin is using Syria to live test Russian military capabilities, and getting paid to do it. I suspect that for the time being, Russian involvement will be limited to SOF, Buffer duty, aerial support, demining and training syrians, repairing and upgrading equipment, constructing russian infrastructure in the region. I suspect Russian troops will largely be deployed in friendly regions, aka Kurdish areas or heavily controlled Assad green zones. Even so, it will be volunteer forces, with some special ops guys.

  • Terence Silvestre Jr.

    Hopefully that technology benefits the brave warriors on the ground.
    Because I doubt that it would serve for anything more because the Russian negativity
    to defend its Syrian ally against air attack of any type and coming from whoever
    for fear of provoking a nuclear conflict.

  • gfsdyughjgd .

    It doesn’t make sense as long as legitimate government troops and artillery is not protect and defend.

  • Airtorn Mentha

    It isn´t matter, russia is coward to use their military assets. ty anyway

    • gustavo

      Russia is not exactly coward. I think Russia is taking right now a lot (too many) precautions to not confront directly Israel, USA or Turkey. Of course, this goes against Russia initial declaration of giving protection to Syria soil and air and Assad president. Right now Russia is saying that is protecting just russian elements in Syria against Israel, USA or Turkey attacks, and Russia is not protecting exactly Assad president. Yes, Russia does not want what Israel-USA-OTAN want,… to heat up and boiling Syria situation. This could be bad for Russia in a long term since the terrorists were created by Israel.OTAN-USA to destroy Syria, Iran and (eventually) Russia, and right now Russia already is under attack of terrorists groups (islamic) as USA told Russia some months ago.

  • Real Anti-Racist Action

    I still morn the loss of Iran’s Russian built airborne early warning and control (AWACS) aircraft, an Ilyushin Il-76MD. Perhaps Russia would be willing to sell Iran one today of the same or a newer variant. I posted the footage of the crash below as well as the Wikipedia.