The Russian military has deployed the airborne early warning and control (AEW) aircraft to Syria. According to local sources, the AEW aircraft arrived the Hmeimim airbase in the town of Jableh few days after the US missile strike on the Al-Sha’irat airbase.
The aircraft was identified as an upgraded version of the A-50U equipped with the Vega Shmel-M radar, capable of detect the launch of a missile or a fighter jet in the range of 650km. The detection range for ground targets is 300km.
The A-50U can conduct command and control air operations, guide friendly fighters and track multiple enemy fighters at the same time. The aircraft can remain in the air for more than 9 hours, and has the ability to detect ground targets and ships.
Last week, Sergey Rudskoy, Head of the Russian General Staff Main Operations Department, announced that Russia had deployed a multi-level control system in Syria that control the entire Syrian airspace from the Hmeimim airbase.
The deployment of the A-50U in Syria is believed to be aimed at improving the ability to detect hostile aircraft and missiles expanding the air defense capabilities of Russian forces.
Russia currently maintains 40 aircraft in Syria. According to previous reports, Russia has already deployed helicopters capable of providing targets for fighter jets in sufficient quantity for the current order of battle.
So what brought the Russians to send this SIGINT monster into the theater? After all, the number of planes and targets it has to manage does not bring its capabilities to full use. The answers and assessments are divided and relate to various aspects of the world of military industry as well as to the world of preparations for the future battlefield.
Various experts around the world claim that the Russian military industry has installed the most modern intelligence and control systems on the plane, which have not yet been tested under real battle conditions, or even close to that as currently demonstrated in Syria.
And some say that the arrival of the Russian control and intelligence plane to Syria alludes to Russian military preparations for the expansion of the battlefield in Syria. The Iranians have already said this aloud what they heard from the Russians in private. The US is already preparing to enter Syria, both from the south via Jordan (and possibly through Israel) and from the north via Turkey and Iraq.
Pictures that have been flooding the world for several days show many US military armor that landed at Kurdish airports in northern Syria and have already positioned themselves in battle positions in eastern Syria.
Since the entire American move is almost without coordination with the Russians, who see themselves as “traffic policemen” in terms of the entry of foreign forces into Syria, the Russians believe that the day will not be long and friction points between them and the Allied forces headed by the Americans will multiply to the point of fear of unplanned local conflicts.
Russia fears that the US is going to divide Syria by force into independent cantons that will form the nucleus for the establishment of a new Syria, which will bring down its control over the current “Greater Syria.”
Russia also believes that any American military move in southern or northern Syria will increase the air force it faces and then will have to greatly strengthen its air forces in Syria, and as a result, the need for a control aircraft like the one that reached Syria will become a means that can not be relinquished.
It is also estimated that the Syrian control plane, which arrived in Syria yesterday, has installed so advanced intelligence and electronic warfare systems that they can paralyze the entire spectrum of electronic signals throughout Syria and its neighbors and allow it better operational and response capabilities if the situation in Syria deteriorates against its will.