SPUTNIK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SPUTNIK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Editorial use only.
Early warning radar aircraft. View of the radar installation on top of a Beriev A-50 airborne early-warning and control system (AWACS) aircraft of the Russian Air Force. The large saucer-shaped dome contains a scanning radar that can pick up aircraft at 230km range and large surface objects (e.g. ships) at up to 400km. The Beriev A-50 'Shmel' ( Russian = 'bumble bee', NATO reporting name 'Mainstay') is based on the four-engine Ilyushin-76 transport aircraft. The first flight was in 1978 with the first aircraft entering service in 1984.
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