On 10 February 2022, Radio Engineering Concern Vega JSC and TANTK Beryev (Taganrog Aviation Scientific and Technical Complex) conducted the first flight of the Beryev A-100 Premier Airborne Early Warning & Control (AEW&C) aircraft for long-range radar surveillance and guidance with the complete MBRTK multifunctional onboard radio-technical complex.
The aircraft was piloted by a crew commanded by the test pilot of the TANTK, test pilot of the first class Sergey Parkhaev. During the flight, the aerodynamic characteristics of the aircraft, the operability of the avionics and parts of the target equipment of the BRTK were checked. The tests confirmed regular operation of special equipment, as well as all onboard systems in the conditions of high electromagnetic radiation.
The A-100 AEW&C complex was created on the basis of the Ilyushin Il-76MD-90A aircraft, on which a radome with an AESA antenna system as well as special radio equipment developed by the Vega Concern (part of Ruselectronics) are installed. The A-100 can detect and track air and other targets, as well as participate in the control of fighter and attack aircraft when pointing at air, ground and sea targets.
The creation of the Premier (future multifunctional aviation complex for radar surveillance and guidance) was launched based on the Decree of the President of Russia dated 28 April 2004 and the corresponding State Contract approved by the Chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces was issued in June 2006.
The initial date for the commission of the A-100 in its original form was 2015. In 2013 it was decided to replace the A-50-based carrier aircraft with a new type based on the Il-76MD-90A. At the same time, the originally intended radar was to be replaced by a new S-band solid-state AESA array and the system integrator was changed from JSC NTC Plant Leninets to JSC Concern Vega and FSUE RNIIRS. The delivery date of the newly renamed program Premier-476 was rescheduled to November 2017.
As a part of the new Premier-476 design and development work, a series of tests of the A-100LL flying laboratory started at Taganrog in October 2016. The A-100LL was basically a converted A-50 (tail number 52 Red, serial 69-05), intended for ground and flight tests of individual elements of the MBRTK complex, verification of the electromagnetic compatibility of its systems, as well as development of new protocols and data exchange modes.
The first flight prototype of the A-100 Premier is based on the first Il-76MD-90A production aircraft (registration 78651, serial 01-03, named Ulyanovsk), built at JSC Aviastar-SP (part of UAC). This aircraft made its first flight in October 2014 at the Ulyanovsk airfield and one month later it was transferred to Taganrog for conversion into an A-100 prototype A-100 at PJSC TANTK Beryev.
The conversion, incl. installation of the MBRTK complex developed by JSC Radio Engineering Concern Vega, took more than three years and the aircraft first took in the air as an A-100 prototype on 18 November 2017. The preliminary flight tests of the first example started much later, though, (February 2019) and the first flight with the final MBRTK only took place now.
During 2022, TANTK and Vega plan to complete the cycle of preliminary flight tests and transfer the first prototype for state joint tests which are planned to be finished by 2024. This might be quite hard to accomplish, especially there is no information about the second prototype of the A-100 as of yet. Currently, the A-100 programme is already several years behind the contract schedule and it might get delayed further.
Photos by Bonsai (via russianplanes.net)