A prototype of a service representative of the next-generation A-100 AWACS (warning system and operating system in the air) made its first flight on February 8 to start Russian acceptance studies. Media representatives were not allowed to witness the event, but a few photographs of the aircraft were released during the flight. The project, sometimes called the premier, is led by Russian electronics (Roselectronika), a member of the state-owned company Rostec. In a statement dated February 9, the company describes the A-100 as a "multifunctional aviation complex for radio-electronic patrols and guidance".
"During the flight, the crew assessed the aircraft handling qualities, conducted avionics checks, and tested the aircraft's automatic steering system for proper operation." The crew was able to assess the aero stiffness. [stability] of the flight platform and perform tests on algorithms of data exchange between the ground stations and the aircraft ".
The statement also contained quotes from academic Vladimir Verba, general designer at the Vega Concern, an important member of Russian electronics responsible for the development of radar and the integration of mission equipment. "A new, very important phase in the A-100 test has just begun," he said. "This aviation system contains the most advanced technologies." Verba stressed that the development of the A-100 has shown that Russia's current level of science and engineering is "not only comparable to that of" the world's leading countries, but exceeds it in a number of key parameters. " Earlier he said that the A-100 was developed as a direct replacement for the A-50 and its A-50. 50U mid-life upgrade, which currently represents the only AWACS type in Russian service.
The statement also made a comment that the aircraft was painted in standard Russian Air and Space Force (VKS) colors before the flight of 8 February. The Ministry of Defense, in turn, made the following comment: "The development of the multifunctional aeronautical complex A-100 is due to the arrival of new classes of targets and fighter aircraft of the next generation, and its performance far exceeds that of both local and foreign designs of the given class ".
At the A-100 hundreds of companies are involved in the Russian military industrial complex. The A-100 uses the platform of the Ilyushin Il-76MD-90A strategic airlifter, which is now produced at the Aviastar-SP plant in Uljanovsk. That company collected a green & # 39; plane and tested the plane in 2014 before it was brought to Taganrog, where TANTK Beriev is located. Also a member of the United Aircraft Corporation (UAC), Beriev – instead of the Ilyushin design house – is responsible for the flight performance of the A-100. After being equipped with the (non-rotating) circular radome above the hull, the A-100 prototype first flew on November 18, 2017 to test the handling qualities and stability of the airframe. At that time, however, the aircraft missed essential parts of mission equipment.
Because of the configuration, the A-100 has a similarity to the A-50 (NATO name: "Mainstay", also produced by Beriev and based on the original Il-76 shell), but has a larger radome. It houses newly developed antennas along with "a special set of radio technical equipment." In addition, the A-100 comes with additional antennas over and inside the airframe. The antenna system uses digital beam scanning and active-phased array technologies with solid-state transceivers. Reportedly the main radar works in two wave bands. Technological developments have allowed for a double increase in detection ranges compared to airborne and seagoing targets compared to the A-50, along with an increase in the number of simultaneously tracked targets and in the speed with which data is processed. Key elements of mission equipment have been tested since October 2016 in an A-100LL flight laboratory, which was produced by building a standard A-50.