According to the Ukrainian Intelligence Directorate, Russia’s defence industry is suffering as a result of foreign sanctions, making it impossible for Moscow to continue producing the essential A-50 radar aircraft.
According to an intelligence report from the UK Defense Ministry, Russia possesses six or seven operational A-50s.
The absence of foreign electronics and supplies has been a problem for the Russian defence sector ever since the Kremlin’s invasion of Ukraine began in February 2022.
Andriy Yusov, a representative of the Ukrainian Defense Ministry’s intelligence division, stated during a national telethon that there were perhaps ten different models of these [A-50] planes in total.
“Another thing is not how many there are, but the ability to produce them. As of today, the degraded industry of the Russian Federation is not capable of producing new aircraft with similar purposes.”
The UK Defense Ministry claims that “The A-50 MAINSTAY is a Russian airborne early warning and control platform. Its role is to build a recognized air picture and to provide coordination to adjoining fighter aircraft.”
The radar aircraft are based on the IL-76 cargo aircraft, and the updated version can detect missile launches from 800 km, ground and marine targets at 300 km, and simultaneously track 300 objects, according to Russian state media outlet TASS on February 22.