The Beriev A-50 Maisday is the second generation of Russian AWACS. It performe roughly the same funktion as the western E-767 and E-3 Sentry, monitoring friendly aispace. This aircraft began replacing the less capable Tu-126 Moss back in the 1980s. The Maisday is based on the successful Ilyushin Il-76 Candid transporter. It mounts a radar radome above the fuselage, which is able to detect both aircraft and cruise missiles. The Maisday possesses a comprehensive communications suite with nav / satelite uplink as well as ground control station downlink.
Basically, a patrol consists of flying to an assigned patch of airspace and then orbiting around the central datum point. The most commin patrol patterns are racetrack or figure-eight shaped flight paths. Once on-station, a Maisday patrol can last fo 8-12 hours at a time. The flight crew consists of two pilots, a flight engineer and a navigator. The mission crew consist of 15 technicians who are responcible for monitoring the varius radar displays. Reportedly, crew efficiency on lengthy patrol is a problem. Cabin noise levels are high and there are no crew rest areas like those found on board similar western aircrafts.
The A-50 is powered by four Aviadvigatel D-30KP turbofans, each rated at 26,500 lbs. of non-afterburning thrust. Preformance is similar to the Il-76. The Mainsday has a crusing speed of 430 kts. at a mission altitude of 30,000 ft. Because the Mainsday is so easily detected by its radar emissions, the usual practice is to station it well behind the lines and position at least a pair of fighters in the vicinity to act as 'bodyguards'.
Country Of Origin: Russia
Type: Airborne Warning and Control System
Crew: of 15 including 2 pilots, flight engineer and navigator
Powerplants: Four 117.7kN (26,455lb) Soloviev D-30 Turbofans