AEgis needed to build an A-50, NATO codename: ‘Mainstay’, AEW (Airborne Early Warning) aka: AWACS (Airborne Warning and Control System), as one of the aircraft models needed for our IMTS Stinger MANPADS missile simulation dome. (See: http://aegistg.com/dome-on-the-range/)
The A-50 was the Soviet answer to the US E-3 Sentry AWACS aircraft.
These gave US commanders a monopoly on the’ Pulse Doppler Palantir in the Sky’ in Vietnam and the Gulf War.
When I saddled up on the interwebs to find source material for our modelers to build the A-50, I found quite a few nice pictures of what I assumed was an A-50 with PRC Chinese markings, so I figured, meh, let’s build that version.
I had then, wrongly assumed that China had purchased A-50s from Russia, and made a few mods to suit their own specific needs.
This turns out not to be the case however, and the real story is much more interesting – involving Israel, Russia, and the US – and enough international intrigue to form the plot of a pretty interesting movie. Well….interesting to me anyway…. http://www.ausairpower.net/APA-PLA-AWACS-Programs.html What the Chinese have now is referred to as the KJ-2000, NATO codename ‘Mainring’. Despite some visual similarities (our model should not have those bumps painted on either side of the front cabin, that’s an A-50 feature) and use of the same IL-76 base airframe, Mainring is a whole new critter, and there is a lot about it that is still unknown, at least to us mundanes.
If such a thing as an ‘Air Combat Thesaurus’ existed, under the old axiom ‘knowledge is power’ it would say, see AWACS. If one side has AWACS, and the opposition does not, the outcome of the battle is usually a forgone conclusion. For this reason, AWACS aircraft are extremely valuable juicy targets for the other side. The Russians have gone so far as to develop special long range weapons to destroy them, as well as other high value flying assets like aerial refueling tankers. Enter the AWACS Whackers: the R-37 and R-172 ultra-long range air-to-air missiles.
These are large powerful missiles which combine inertial, semi active (radar illumination from their launch aircraft), and, in the final phase of the intercept, their own active radar seekers, which achieve astounding ranges approaching 200 miles.
Even if the US musters the radar jamming mojo to spoof these killers, or uses cooperative engagement shared datalinks to intercept their launch aircraft, other potential customers, adversaries such as India and Pakistan, will seek to use them to blind each other’s eyes in the sky.
Elta Phalcon L-band
Scott Booth Bio:
Scott Booth Bio: Often found mucking about with 3D content development for visual simulations, or occasionally small UAS simulation. Usually found in the company of: salty NCOs, (yeah, you Tony), pilots- all types, gun nuts, manned space flight advocates, old car/truck/jeep fans, Sci-Fi readers, military historians, genius software programmers who like corny jokes, rocket scientists, dark beer drinkers, type-A sales guys, and other related near-do-wells.
Experience – 30 years visual simulation content development, company co-owner-founder – CG2 1995-2004, Small UAS simulation, AEgis-Vampire, Raven operator license, class 11-008, 2011.
Visual recognition expert, aircraft, armor, ships, subs, small arms, amateur military historian and shade tree auto mechanic.