Tag Archives: Beriev

India: “Only half the combat fleet operational”

On paper the Indian Air Force has roughly 700 fighter and strike jets, but in reality slightly only about half are operational raising concern about how effective the military of the 2nd largest population in the world is being protected.

The average aircraft availability measured over the entire year is about 50 to 55 percent, Defence officials have admitted towards the parliamentary committee on defence matters. About 20 percent of those jets are simply grounded because of the lack of spare parts, but Indian Air Force sources say that concerns mostly the older Soviet-era jets like the approx. 120 MiG-21 Bisons, 80 MiG-27 Bahadurs and 130 to 135 SEPECAT Shamshers (Jaguars).

An Indian Air Force Sukhoi Su-30 (Image © Marcel Burger)
An Indian Air Force Sukhoi Su-30 (Image © Marcel Burger)

Indian MiG-29, Mirage 2000 and Sukhoi Su-30MKI

What the status is on the 60 to 65 MiG-29 Baaz’s and the 56 Mirage 2000 Vajras and the almost 230 Sukhoi Su-30MKI is not fully known – but the Airheadsfly.com article on the IAF MiG-29 is still one of the best read pieces on our web. In 2014 the Sukhoi Su-30MKI fleet had huge problems and despite the issue has been addressed somewhat the India’s Auditor General still called the matter “unresolved” in August 2015.

Ilyushing/Beriev A-50 AWACS

The government watchdog authority also slashed the reputation of the Air Force’s three Ilyushin/Beriev A-50 AWACS aircraft. Lack of trained aircrew, lack of bases to operate from, lack of funds and resources for the aircraft maintenance have seriously hampered the effectiveness of the airborne radar and intelligence gathering platforms.

© 2016 Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger
Featured image (top): An Indian Air Force MiG-21 (Image © Indian Air Force)

Russia fields strategic water bombers in Siberia

With Winter turning into Spring many countries face the challenge of wildfires. Russia is no exception, where part of the emergency response is done by standard strategic airlifters: the Ilyushin IL-76TD and its cousins.

Three of these have lately been involved in extinguishing fires in Siberia, using VAP-2 spray tanks and installation. The Russian Emergency Response Ministery (MCHS Rossii) has the lead in these missions. The IL-76TD got support from an Russian Air Force IL-76 “Candid”, plus from the MCHS fleet two Beriev BE-200s amphibious firefighters, two Mil Mi-8 helicopters and a single big Mil Mi-26 helicopter. All combined they dropped 700,000 litres of water with the Air Force Candid providing a fifth of the anti-fire power.

The great thing with the big converted airlifters is that they are also used to transport necessary equipment, fire suppression substances and food/aid supplies to areas struck by the fires, about 100 tons in the case of recent the Siberian operations. By combining a relatively environmental-friendly retardant powder (OS-5) with 2.8 times more water the flames can be fought more effectively, while the powder increases the effect of the water on the ground and thereby reducing the number of sorties needed to combat the hazard.

Fire-fighter planes have been busy, with responding to wildfires in the Buryatia region earlier. Russia has been fielding the IL-76s in the fire-fighting role since 1992, with the design started in 1989. The current VAP-2 spray tank systems consists of two cylindrical tanks with each 21,000 litres capacity. The system is attached to the floor of the cargo compartment and can be rolled out/in the Candids by a wheeled trailer.

It takes about 1.5 to 2 hours to load and secure the fire-fighting system in the plane. About 25 minutes is used to fill the tanks once they’re in the plane. Typical drop altitudes are between 150 and 320 feet, with each retardant/water load taking about 6 to 8 seconds to be released onto the fire. The VAP-2 system is already compatible with Russia’s new IL-76MD-90A aircraft, without the need of any modifications.

Russia’s MCHS Rossii and Russian Air Force fire-fighting IL-76s are known to fly from the Pskov, Taganrog, Tver and Orenburg Airbases.

2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger, based on source information by Ilyushin Aircraft Company
Featured image: An Ilyushin IL-76 equipped as water bomber (Image © Russian Ministry of Defence)

India: “Airbus aiming for Air Force A330 AWACS”

Airbus is said to be aiming to provide the Indian Air Force with two A330 Airborne Early Warning and Control (AWACS) aircraft, according to sources within the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) of the large Asian nation.

.. and a study of a Sentry from a KC-135R tanker. Image © Dennis Spronk)
AHF↑Inside: NATO’s AWACS Nest
On guidance by the DRDO the Indian Ministry of Defence seems to be willing to go ahead with the development of an semi-indigenous AWACS together with an international partner. Many experts believed Russia’s new Beriev/Ilyushin A-100 Premier would’ve stand a good change, while the Indian Air Force already ordered five somewhat similar Beriev/Ilyushin A-50E/I Phalcon AWACS planes with at least three operational. But, according to the The Economic Times of India only Airbus has shown serious interest and that India will go ahead with Airbus.

The bid by Airbus is remarkable, since the European consortium has not developed an AWACS plane before. This could mean a long developing time and possibly many issues – especially with the expected Indian requirements and integration of Indian made and developed systems. However, Airbus also hadn’t developed a tanker aircraft before but the current A330 MRTT / KC-30 is now an established military asset with several air forces – including the RAF as the Voyager flown by AirTanker – and a tough competitor for Boeing’s new KC-46 still in its development phase.

The DRDO is a serious player when it comes to the Indian military requirements. The organisation has been the engine behind the Indian Air Force’s smaller Airborne Early Warning and Control System (AEWACS), based on the Embraer ERJ 145 business jet with an adapted EL/W-2090 AWACS systems in a boom antenna on the back of the aircraft provided by Israel. Three of these DRDO/ERJ AEWACS are set to be operational in 2015, with an requirement for six to fourteen more.

© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger
Featured image (top): After the tanker version, will the A330 also surface as a AWACS? (Image © Airbus)

An Indian Air Force DRDO/Embraer ERJ 145 AEWACS (Image (CC) Pritish Kumar Patil)
An Indian Air Force DRDO/Embraer ERJ 145 AEWACS (Image (CC) Pritish Kumar Patil)

Indonesian Air Force chief: “We’ll buy Russian Berievs”

The Indonesian Air Force (TNI-AU) will buy a yet unknown number of big Russian-made Beriev Be-200 (“Altair”) amphibious aircraft for anti-fishery patrols and maritime surveillance, according to chief Marshall Ida Bagus Putu Dunia to Indonesian reporters of press agengy Antara earlier this week.

It was not immediately clear if the statement of the Air Force boss is backed by the political leadership, despite the fact that the Marshall said the Indonesian president agreed with the plan. Shortly afterwords the commanding officer of all Indonesian armed forces, Commander General Moeldoko, said that his country’s military wants to take up the role of a “big brother” in the economical co-operation of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), to promote regional order in Southeast Asia.

Indonesia is seeking to boost its maritime patrol capabilities, but so far only three CASA (Airbus) CN235 Persuader MPAs, locally produced/adapted by PTDI, have made it to the fleet. Calls are for at least 21 of these surveillance planes in order to cover the about 3 million square nautical miles (5.9 million square kilometres) of water, if one includes the so-called economic zone of the country.

The CN235 Persuader’s on station time is 8.5 hours in which it can travel 1,665 miles. The aircraft can be armed with air-to-surface and anti-submarine weapons. The big advantage of the Beriev is that it can transport 72 passengers or drop 3170 gallons (12,000 litres) of water to assist in fighting forest fires that rage on the Indonesian islands every year. Disadvantage is that the range of the Beriev is smaller than that of the CN235, with the Be-200 reaching only 1,305 (2,100 km) during operational flights.

© 2014 Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger
Related: Indonesia started operations with CN235 Persuader in October 2013

The Beriev BE-200ES amphibious fire-fighting and transport aircraft (Image © Beriev)
The Beriev BE-200ES amphibious fire-fighting and transport aircraft (Image © Beriev)

Russia starts production A-100 AWACS

Russia has started production of its new generation of Airborne Warning and Control System Aircraft (AWACS). The first Ilyushin IL-76MD-90A (Ил-76МД-90А), the newest version of what NATO calls the Candid, was delivered to the Taganrog-based Beriev Aviation Scientific-Technical Complex (TANTK) on 21 November 2014.

The A-100 Premier will replace the current Beriev (/Ilyushin) A-50s in Russian Air Force service. Between 1978 and 1992 forty of these A-50s (NATO-name Mainstay) were produced, based on an older version of the IL-76, with 20 still in active service.

At the current production rate it takes about two years for every new IL-76MD-90A to roll out of the factory, with currently 13 machines on the line. They are equipped with modern Russian-made engines, new flight navigation complex and a digital automatic flight control system.

Test flight of the new Ilyushin IL-76MD-90A strategic airlifter (Image © Ilyushin)
Test flight of the new Ilyushin IL-76MD-90A strategic airlifter, on which the new A-100 will be based (Image © Ilyushin)

The IL-76MD-90s are currently produced by Aviastar and tested at the airport of Ulyanovsk-Vostochny. Beriev in Taganrog creates the special versions like the A-100 from already produced new machines.

Since Russia also aims at slowly get some of these new four-engine planes into the strategic airlift units, it is yet uncertain how fast the A-100s will take over from the A-50. Therefore a modernisation program for the A-50s is also underway.

The A-100 Premier will have a more advanced active phase array radar to detect and track both multiple airborne and land-based targets. According to Russian source information the older A-50 is able to only control and guide about 10 combat aircraft packages on either air-to-air or air-to-ground missions, while very much relying on each package having its own lead-man to to relay AWACS instructions.

© 2014 Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger, with source information by Ilyushing Aircraft Corp.

The Beriev A-50U (No. 37), AWACS based on the Ilyushin IL-76 (Image © Russian Ministry of Defence)
The Beriev A-50U, AWACS based on the Ilyushin IL-76 (Image © Russian Ministry of Defence)